Nano Science and Technology Institute

Turning plastic bags into high-tech materials

November 22, 2013 12:56 PM EST By: Jennifer Rocha

University of Adelaide researchers have developed a process for turning waste plastic bags into a high-tech nanomaterial.

Story content courtesy of University of Adelaide, AU

The innovative nanotechnology uses non-biodegradable plastic grocery bags to make ‘carbon nanotube membranes’ ‒ highly sophisticated and expensive materials with a variety of potential advanced applications including filtration, sensing, energy storage and a range of biomedical innovations.

The University of Adelaide’s Nanotech Research Group has ‘grown’ the carbon nanotubes onto nanoporous alumina membranes. They used pieces of grocery plastic bags which were vaporised in a furnace to produce carbon layers that line the pores in the membrane to make the tiny cylinders (the carbon nanotubes).

The University of Adelaide’s Nanotech Research Group has ‘grown’ the carbon nanotubes onto nanoporous alumina membranes. They used pieces of grocery plastic bags which were vaporised in a furnace to produce carbon layers that line the pores in the membrane to make the tiny cylinders (the carbon nanotubes). The idea was conceived and carried out by PhD student Tariq Altalhi.

The process is also catalyst and solvent free, which means the plastic waste can be used without generating poisonous compounds.

 

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