Graphene could have major impact on environment

Posted on Wednesday, Apr 30 2014 @ 12:56 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
Bit Tech reports researchers discovered that graphene oxide has been found to be very mobile in surface water, meaning the material could have significant environmental impact if it's released, by accident or design, into rivers and streams:
'The situation today is similar to where we were with chemicals and pharmaceuticals 30 years ago,' claimed Lanphere of his team's research into graphene. 'We just don’t know much about what happens when these engineered nanomaterials get into the ground or water. We have to be proactive so we have the data available to promote sustainable applications of this technology in the future.'

The study found that graphene has little impact in ground water, but that its graphene oxide form - created when graphene is exposed to air - could move considerable distances in surface water like rivers and streams. The result, the team claim, is the possibility for graphene oxide to spread rapidly throughout an ecosystem with as-yet unknown environmental effects. Although graphene is normally locked away inside electronic components, its widespread use would lead to its presence in landfills and other dumping grounds - and with recent studies suggesting there may be a toxicity to graphene, it's clear that careful study is required.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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