Nanotechnology Project

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Environment, Health and Safety Research

Development of High Surface Area Material and Filter Media

Project Information

Principal InvestigatorJayesh Doshi
InstitutioneSpin Technologies Inc.
Project URLView
Relevance to ImplicationsSome
Class of NanomaterialGeneric
Impact SectorHuman Health
Broad Research Categories Safety
NNI identifier

Funding Information

Anticipated Total Funding$69,995.00
Annual Funding$69,995.00
Funding SourceEPA
Funding MechanismExtramural
Funding SectorGovernment
Start Year2002
Anticipated End Year2002


The 21st century has begun with the promise of nanotechnology, which is expected to harness novel properties of materials and unique features of phenomena at the nanometer scale. This is likely to lead to significant breakthroughs that will have major implications for environmental protection. Thus, nanotechnologies developed in the coming years will form the foundation of significant commercial platforms. In this context, this project focuses on providing a feasibility demonstration of producing nonwoven webs of electrospun nanofibers at a commercial scale for specific environmental applications. The applications targeted are those that require the use of such webs as high surface area material or as filtration media. These applications are well suited to address the problems of adsorbing gaseous pollutants (where high surface area of nanowebs is very attractive) or filtering particles smaller than 3 microns from effluent gases or liquids economically (where superior efficiency of nanowebs in capturing submicron particles is very attractive). Alternatively, such filters will increase the particle-loading capacity of the filters, or reduce the pressure drop for a variety of filtration end uses.

Initially, the nanofibers will be electrospun from a solution of polyacrylonitrile in dimethylformamide in the form of a nonwoven mat. This mat then will be further processed to convert it into activated carbon fiber NanoFilter media. The web architecture will be tailored to achieve the desired filter performance and gas adsorption by varying fiber diameter, fiber orientation, fiber-packing fraction within the nanoweb, activation level, and nanoweb thickness.

This project will be carried out by eSpin Technologies-a small, high-technology start-up company based in Chattanooga, TN, that and specializes in providing custom-made electrospun nanofibers-in collaboration with academic centers and major corporations. Together, this group possesses the skills and facilities needed to successfully conduct the work under this project.

At the end of the Phase I and Phase II efforts, eSpin will have successfully developed nanofiber-based high surface area NanoFilters made from activated carbon for the removal of gaseous pollutants. With the active collaboration of eSpin’s partners, these products will be commercialized in the United States and in the international marketplace. Apart from providing technology leadership to U.S. companies, the proposed effort also will help fulfill the mission of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in improving the quality of air and water.