Calif.-When it comes to mitigating the harmful impacts
of environmental pollution--size does matter . . .
or, at least, that's the hypothesis that California
Institute of Technology professors Janet Hering and
Richard Flagan will be testing.
Hering is professor of environmental science and engineering
executive officer for Keck Laboratories. Flagan is
executive officer of chemical engineering Irma and
Ross McCollum professor of chemical engineering and
professor of environmental science and engineering.
In a study funded by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus
Foundation, Hering and Flagan will examine whether
the effectiveness of iron nanoparticles in pollution
remediation is influenced by their size. The $120,000
grant, under the Dreyfus Foundation's 2004 Postdoctoral
Program in Environmental Chemistry, will be used to
recruit a postdoctoral scientist to conduct research
in environmental chemistry.
Specifically, the researchers will utilize this grant
to examine effective strategies for reduction and
mitigation of environmental pollutants in aquatic
ecosystems. Ultimately, the study seeks to help provide
viable, cost-effective commercial technologies for
the remediation of certain contaminants, including
groundwater contaminants, chlorinated solvents, nitrates,
pesticides, various chemical by-products, residue
created in manufacturing, and other industrial or
The study, "Use of Vapor-Phase Synthesized Iron
Nanoparticles to Examine Nanoscale Reactivity,"
will investigate whether reactivity and effectiveness
of iron nanoparticles, in pollution mitigation, are
influenced by their size. The study will compare particles
in different size classes to determine whether nanoparticles
exhibit enhanced reactivity in the reduction of organic
substrates based on their size when surface area effects
are accounted for.
Elemental iron [Fe(0)], or zero-valent iron, has been
demonstrated to be an effective reductant for a wide
range of environmental contaminants, including both
organic and inorganic contaminants. Upon reaction
with Fe(0), some contaminants can be transformed to
products that are non-toxic or immobile. Fe(0) can
be delivered to the subsurface environment by injection
of Fe(0) nanoparticles.
If research results yield a conclusion that the size
of Fe(0) nanoparticles does make a difference in their
reactivity or effectiveness, then this finding will
have a significant effect on the application of Fe(0)
materials in environmental remediation and will provide
insight into the fundamental chemical properties and
behavior of nanoparticles in these applications.
Created in 1946, the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation
bears the names of modern chemistry pioneers Drs.
Camille Dreyfus and his brother Henry. The foundation's
mandate is "to advance the science of chemistry,
chemical engineering, and related sciences as a means
of improving human relations and circumstances throughout
the world." The foundation directs much of its
resources to the support of excellence in teaching
and research by outstanding chemistry faculty at universities
Contact: Deborah Williams-Hedges (626) 395-3227 firstname.lastname@example.org
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