NSTI Nanotech 2009

Nano-selenium - A Nanotechnology Based Approach to Capture Mercury Vapor

L. Sarin, W. Turnbull, B. Lee, S. Bowers, N.C. Johnson, S. Manchester, R.H. Hurt
Brown University, US

Keywords: mercury capture, nano-selenium, nanotechnology, CFL


With an increasing interest in the energy efficient CFLs there is also a growing concern about their potential health effects, because each of these CFLs contain 3-5 mg of mercury which could be released from a fractured bulb. The OSHA occupational exposure limit for mercury is 100 g/m3, while the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry recommends 0.2 g/m3 level for continual habitation by children, a level that can easily be exceeded by a single CFL break. The present work is motivated by two specific issues in the management of Hg from CFLs: (i) direct exposure of consumers or workers to Hg vapor from fractured lamps, and (ii) release of Hg to the environment at end of lamp life. This paper describes the development of a nanomaterial-based technology for suppressing the release of mercury from broken CFLs. Prototypes, of CFL spill kit, a new retail packaging concept, and a new disposal concept that avoid the release of mercury vapor at various stages of the lamp lifecycle, were tested for in situ capture under scenarios relevant to domestic breakage and disposal. In this paper we discuss the dynamics of mercury interaction with sorbent material, material characterization and its potential implementation.
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