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Filled Nanocomposite Materials for Biocidal Applications

Mirko Schoenitz1, Demitrios Stamatis1, Edward L. Dreizin1, and Sergey A. Grinshpun2. (1) Chemical Engineering, New Jersey Institute of Technology, University Heights, Newark, NJ 07102, (2) Department of Environmental Health, University of Cincinnati, 3223 Eden Ave., POB 670056, Cincinnati, OH 45267

Filled nanocomposite materials were developed as a new class of energetic materials for the purpose of inactivating aerosolized biological agents. These materials, when combusted, release halogenated gaseous species in the atmosphere, neutralizing hazardous biological materials, in particular viable airborne bio-agents, such as stress-resistant viruses and bacteria.

Filled nanocomposite materials are based on previously developed fully-dense energetic nanocomposite materials prepared by Arrested Reactive Milling. By carrying out the preparative milling process at cryogenic temperatures, significant quantities of components can be embedded in a continuous metal matrix, which would be volatile under normal atmospheric conditions. In this research, elemental iodine was embedded in an aluminum matrix as biologically active component, together with molybdenum trioxide as an oxidizer. Details of the synthesis approach, the ability to contain volatile components in a metal matrix, and stability data of the filled nanocomposite materials will be presented.

An appropriate test protocol was established, and initial tests were conducted. Aerosols of two bio-agent simulants, Bacillus subtilis bacterial endospores and MS2 bacteriophage virus were exposed to an environment with burning filled nanocomposite materials. The time scale of the test required to moderate the burn velocity of the nanocomposite with paraffin wax as an endothermic binder. The biological viability of the aerosolized bio-agents after exposure was determined by cultivation.