Found in solid-rocket fuel, roadside flares and fireworks, perchlorate is a dangerous contaminant that can disrupt thyroid function by interfering with the uptake of iodine. Infants and fetuses are believed to be particularly at risk from the effects of perchlorate exposure.
Because perchlorate is readily soluble in water, it can be transported vast distances in groundwater or rivers. A plume of contaminated groundwater from a manufacturing plant near Las Vegas, for example, reached the Colorado River and spread throughout the Southwest. Cleanup could take decades. "Perchlorate has been recognized as a significant environmental contaminant in U.S. water supplies, and its physical and chemical properties pose a serious challenge for remediation," said John Shapley, a professor of chemistry at Illinois and co-developer, with graduate student Keith Hurley, of the new catalyst.
Efforts at remediation using naturally occurring microorganisms or existing pump-and-treat technology are too complicated, too energy intensive or too slow to be practical, Shapley said.
The new catalyst is composed of two metals – palladium and rhenium – supported on activated carbon. The catalyst operates at room temperature under normal atmospheric pressure, and does not dissolve in water.
"In catalytic operation, the rhenium removes an oxygen atom from the perchlorate molecule in what is called an atom transfer reaction," Hurley said. "Meanwhile, the palladium activates the gaseous hydrogen atoms so they will react with the freed oxygen. What's left is harmless chloride and water." The catalytic reaction continues as long as there is both hydrogen gas and perchlorate contaminant present.
"While current technologies – such as ion exchange systems – can concentrate and remove perchlorate from water, they cannot destroy it," said Shapley, who will describe the new catalyst at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society, to be held in San Francisco, Sept. 10-14. "Our catalyst would take a concentrated stream of perchlorate and get rid of it altogether."
James E. Kloeppel | EurekAlert!
Gene therapy shows promise for treating Niemann-Pick disease type C1
27.10.2016 | NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute
'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape
27.10.2016 | International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA)
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences
27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
27.10.2016 | Life Sciences