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Decontamination and Safety Applications and Products Based on Nanomaterials

David A. Jones, Olga B. Koper, Kyle Knappenberger, and Megan J. Winter. NanoScale Corporation, 1310 Research Park Dr., Manhattan, KS 66502

NanoScale Corporation (www.NanoScaleCorp.com) is an advanced materials company committed to being a leading marketer, developer, producer, and supplier of nanochemistry-based products and services to Customers throughout the world. Since its inception, NanoScale has conducted research and development in reactive nanocrystalline metal oxides and related technologies. The company has invested in excess of $20 million for development of its proprietary destructive adsorption technology. This technology is based on the enhanced chemical reactivity of nanocrystalline metal oxides, and is directed toward selective adsorption and destruction of contaminants from process streams or toxic chemical releases.

The enhanced chemical reactivity comes from the unique morphology of these metal oxide materials at the nanometric scale. The approximately 5 nm crystallites agglomerate in a chaotic fashion to form extremely porous particles that are about 5 microns in diameter. These particles have surface areas on the order of 500-700 m2/g and can be modified with specific functional groups on the surface. This combination of properties results in extremely high reactivity including both enhanced reaction kinetics and large capacities. Because of their small crystallite sizes, nano materials have a large fraction of edge and corner sites containing three- and four-coordinated ions which are much more reactive than the ions or atoms in the bulk or on the surface. NanoScale nanocrystalline materials are economically produced on a large scale and their safe use has been proven by independent toxicology testing. For example, nanocrystalline TiO2, was found to be non-toxic in acute oral, acute dermal, and acute inhalation testing, not an irritant to skin and eyes, and not a skin sensitizer.

NanoScale has compiled considerable data on the reactivity of these materials towards many hazards including acidic and caustic gases, chlorocarbons, organophosphorus compounds, as well as chemical warfare agents. In the destructive adsorption process, these materials not only adsorb toxic compounds but also chemically decompose them in a nonreversible manner, which inhibits the possibility of desorption of captured agents. In addition, decomposition products are much less toxic or nontoxic and typically are in an easily disposable solid form.

Based on this core technology, NanoScale has developed FAST-ACT (First Applied Sorbetn Treatment Agains Chemical Threats). The FAST-ACT family of products utilizes this non-toxic, non-corrosive, non-flammable dry powder that is capable of neutralizing a wide range toxic chemicals with the added capability to destroy chemical warfare agents. FAST-ACT is a revolutionary chemical hazard containment and neutralization system that is sold to first responders and HAZMAT teams around the world. It is used in response to releases of hazardous chemicals. It has significant advantage over other chemical release mitigation measures in that it can be used on any release without the need for prior identification. In addition, it is effective against vapor hazards as well as liquids.

OdorKlenz, NanoScale's family of odor elimination products, is based on the same destructive adsorption technology. It is sold in several forms including a dry powder, a liquid for enhanced mass transfer and granule based air scrubber system. OdorKlenz has proven commercially effective at mitigation of a wide variety of odors and is currently used in areas such as the death care and medical industries, veterinary necropsy labs, the hospitality industry, disaster recovery, and gross anatomy labs for reduction of formaldehyde vapors.

Developmental products based on these materials include various types of small equipment decontaminants, residue free surface decontamination wipes, nanoparticle enhanced contaminated remains pouch, protective textiles, as well as air and water filtration media.