Nanotechnology Project

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Environment, Health and Safety Research


Project Information

Principal InvestigatorD. Hesterberg
Project URLView
Relevance to ImplicationsSome
Class of NanomaterialNatural Nanomaterials
Impact SectorEnvironment
Broad Research Categories Characterization
NNI identifierc4-21

Funding Information

Anticipated Total Funding$8,500.00
Annual Funding$8,500.00
Funding SourceUSDA
Funding Mechanism
Funding Sector
Start Year2006
Anticipated End Year2007


NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Soil minerals largely regulate the toxicity of heavy metals in the environment. This project supports a symposium that will present the latest research on the regulation of toxic metals by minerals in soils,subsurface systems, and sediments. OBJECTIVES: To provide a forum for presentation of the latest developments in mineralogy as it applies to environmental chemistry, soil chemistry, and geochemisty with particular emphasis on trace element contaminants. To provide opportunities for fruitful exchange between graduate students and established clay mineralogists working in areas that are key to understanding soil processes and environmental fate of soil contaminants. To enlighten scientists who normally do not attend the CMS (or FCG) meetings to the high level of science and quality atmosphere for scientific exchange that these annual meetings provide. To give opportunities for students to develop an awareness of interdisciplinary activities related to clay science. To provide the means for students to attend a workshop on Nanocomposites, an emerging area of technology and environmental research that provides research opportunities for soil scientists and clay mineralogists. APPROACH: A symposium entitled Environmental Mineralogy and Toxic Metals has been organized for the 2006 Joint Clay Minerals Society - French Clay Group Meetings to be held in France. In response to a call for papers, which highlighted the scope of the symposium and four internationally-recognized invited speakers, we have 37 oral and poster papers scheduled for this symposium. Fourteen of these papers will be presented by students. This USDA-NRI project will provide travel funds for two invited speakers and four graduate students to attend the meeting and participate in our symposium. PROGRESS: 2006/07 TO 2007/07 OUTPUTS: This conference grant supported a highly successful symposium titled “Environmental Mineralogy and Toxic Metals” that was presented as part of the “Joint Meeting of the Clay Minerals Society (CMS) and the French Clay Group (FCG)”, held June 3-7, 2006 at Ile d’Oleron, France. The symposium comprised a total of 37 presentations (12 oral and 25 posters), which accounted for 14% of the presentations that were distributed among 21 technical sessions at this professional society meeting. The symposium was co-organized by Dr. Alain Manceau (LGIT, University of Grenoble, France) and the grantee (Dr. Dean Hesterberg, NC State University). Invited speakers supported by the grant included Drs. S. J. Traina and K. L. Nagy, in addition to four graduate student travel awards. Presentations addressed mineralogical impacts on the environmental chemistry of a broad range of hazardous trace elements and radionuclides; including arsenic, lead, chromium, copper, zinc, cadmium, nickel, cobalt, barium, uranium, samarium; and phosphate, nitrate, and organic contaminants. Much of the research involved recent applications of advanced analytical techniques like synchrotron x-ray absorption spectroscopy and x-ray scattering, and modern thermodynamic and kinetic approaches for following chemical reactions in soils and sediments that affect the mobility of toxic metals. A collection of 1-page abstracts was published as part of the proceedings for the Joint CMS/FCG meetings. PARTICIPANTS: Dr. Alain Manceau, (LGIT, University of Grenoble, France) was the co-organizer of this symposium. Professional development opportunities were afforded to the following graduate students, who gave presentations in this symposium: X.D. Gao (Purdue Univ., USA), E. Morichon (Univ. de Poitiers, France), R. Ravella (Penn State Univ., USA), I. Kannewischer (Texas A&M Univ., USA), M. Shirvani (Isfahan Univ. of Technol., Iran - two abstracts, could not attend), A. Matynia (LGIT, Univ. J. Fourier, France), S. Bodei (Univ. de Franche Comte, France). TARGET AUDIENCES: The target audience for this symposium included international scientists and graduate students working in environmental sciences involving clay and toxic substances. IMPACT: 2006/07 TO 2007/07 The goal of this symposium was to promote a strong and international presence of soil and environmental scientists at this international clay conference, and to cultivate an awareness, particularly in graduate students and young scientists, of the importance of clay science and clay mineralogy in solving environmental problems related to trace elements. The symposium was successful in achieving these goals based on the strong participation of environmental scientists from 12 countries worldwide. This grant was augmented by a grant of similar magnitude acquired from the French Geological Survey by the symposium co-organizer (Dr. Manceau). The two grants supported travel for a total of five graduate students to attend the primary meeting and a pre-meeting workshop on clay nanocomposites. Prior to the symposium, we conducted an informal survey of selected soil mineralogists in the United States. Results indicated a declining trend in graduate students taking soil mineralogy courses at land-grant institutions. Therefore, volunteered papers by seven graduate students (of 37 papers total) in our symposium illustrated a positive impact of the grant on graduate-student involvement in clay sciences. The conference was attended by eminent clay scientists from around the world, and the informal atmosphere at the meeting provided ample opportunities for graduate students to interact with established clay scientists. Continuously fostering such interactions while showcasing the state-of-the-art in scientific approaches for researching toxic substances in soils and the environment will continue to inspire developing scientists to maintain the high technical standards that have evolved in the field of clay science.