Tag Archives: Akira Isogai

Cleaning up disasters with Hokusai’s blue and cellulose nanofibers to clean up contaminated soil and water in Fukushima

The Great Wave off Kanagawa (Under a wave off Kanagawa”), also known as The Great Wave or simply The Wave, by Katsushika Hokusai – Metropolitan Museum of Art, online database: entry 45434, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2798407

I thought it might be a good idea to embed a copy of Hokusai’s Great Wave and the blue these scientists in Japan have used as their inspiration. (By the way, it seems these scientists collaborated with Mildred Dresselhaus who died at the age of 86, a few months after their paper was published. In honour of he and before the latest, here’s my Feb. 23, 2017 posting about the ‘Queen of Carbon’.)

Now onto more current news, from an Oct. 13, 2017 news item on Nanowerk (Note: A link has been removed),

By combining the same Prussian blue pigment used in the works of popular Edo-period artist Hokusai and cellulose nanofiber, a raw material of paper, a University of Tokyo research team succeeded in synthesizing compound nanoparticles, comprising organic and inorganic substances (Scientific Reports, “Cellulose nanofiber backboned Prussian blue nanoparticles as powerful adsorbents for the selective elimination of radioactive cesium”). This new class of organic/inorganic composite nanoparticles is able to selectively adsorb, or collect on the surface, radioactive cesium.

The team subsequently developed sponges from these nanoparticles that proved highly effective in decontaminating the water and soil in Fukushima Prefecture exposed to radioactivity following the nuclear accident there in March 2011.

I think these are the actual sponges not an artist’s impression,

Decontamination sponge spawned from current study
Cellulose nanofiber-Prussian blue compounds are permanently anchored in spongiform chambers (cells) in this decontamination sponge. It can thus be used as a powerful adsorbent for selectively eliminating radioactive cesium. © 2017 Sakata & Mori Laboratory.

An Oct. 13, 2017 University of Tokyo press release, which originated the news item, provides more detail about the sponges and the difficulties of remediating radioactive air and soil,

Removing radioactive materials such as cesium-134 and -137 from contaminated seawater or soil is not an easy job. First of all, a huge amount of similar substances with competing functions has to be removed from the area, an extremely difficult task. Prussian blue (ferric hexacyanoferrate) has a jungle gym-like colloidal structure, and the size of its single cubic orifice, or opening, is a near-perfect match to the size of cesium ions; therefore, it is prescribed as medication for patients exposed to radiation for selectively adsorbing cesium. However, as Prussian blue is highly attracted to water, recovering it becomes highly difficult once it is dissolved into the environment; for this reason, its use in the field for decontamination has been limited.

Taking a hint from the Prussian blue in Hokusai’s woodblock prints not losing their color even when getting wet from rain, the team led by Professor Ichiro Sakata and Project Professor Bunshi Fugetsu at the University of Tokyo’s Nanotechnology Innovation Research Unit at the Policy Alternatives Research Institute, and Project Researcher Adavan Kiliyankil Vipin at the Graduate School of Engineering developed an insoluble nanoparticle obtained from combining cellulose and Prussian blue—Hokusai had in fact formed a chemical bond in his handling of Prussian blue and paper (cellulose).

The scientists created this cellulose-Prussian blue combined nanoparticle by first preparing cellulose nanofibers using a process called TEMPO oxidization and securing ferric ions (III) onto them, then introduced a certain amount of hexacyanoferrate, which adhered to Prussian blue nanoparticles with a diameter ranging from 5–10 nanometers. The nanoparticles obtained in this way were highly resistant to water, and moreover, were capable of adsorbing 139 mg of radioactive cesium ion per gram.

Field studies on soil decontamination in Fukushima have been underway since last year. A highly effective approach has been to sow and allow plant seeds to germinate inside the sponge made from the nanoparticles, then getting the plants’ roots to take up cesium ions from the soil to the sponge. Water can significantly shorten decontamination times compared to soil, which usually requires extracting cesium from it with a solvent.

It has been more than six years since the radioactive fallout from a series of accidents at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant following the giant earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan. Decontamination with the cellulose nanofiber-Prussian blue compound can lead to new solutions for contamination in disaster-stricken areas.

“I was pondering about how Prussian blue immediately gets dissolved in water when I happened upon a Hokusai woodblock print, and how the indigo color remained firmly set in the paper, without bleeding, even after all these years,” reflects Fugetsu. He continues, “That revelation provided a clue for a solution.”

“The amount of research on cesium decontamination increased after the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident, but a lot of the studies were limited to being academic and insufficient for practical application in Fukushima,” says Vipin. He adds, “Our research offers practical applications and has high potential for decontamination on an industrial scale not only in Fukushima but also in other cesium-contaminated areas.”

Here’s a link to and a citation for the paper,

Cellulose nanofiber backboned Prussian blue nanoparticles as powerful adsorbents for the selective elimination of radioactive cesium by Adavan Kiliyankil Vipin, Bunshi Fugetsu, Ichiro Sakata, Akira Isogai, Morinobu Endo, Mingda Li, & Mildred S. Dresselhaus. Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 37009 (2016) doi:10.1038/srep37009 Published online: 15 November 2016

This is open access.

Deadline for submissions to 2014 TAPPI International Conference on Nanotechnology of Renewable Materials in Vancouver, Canada extended

A November 12, 2013 news item on TextileWorld.com announced the new deadline, Nov. 22, 2014, (original deadline was Nov. 5, 2013) for the 2014 TAPPI (Technical Association for the Pulp, Paper, Packaging and Converting Industries) nanotechnology conference submissions,

The Norcross, Ga.-based Technical Association for the Pulp, Paper, Packaging and Converting Industries (TAPPI) has issued a call for 300-word abstracts for presentations to be given at the 2014 TAPPI International Conference on Nanotechnology for Renewable Materials, to be held June 23-26 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver in Vancouver, Canada.

… Abstracts focused on additive manufacturing, 3-D printing and other industrial manufacturing applications are preferred.

…. Deadline for submissions is November 22, 2013. …

You can find the 2014 TAPPI Nanotechnology conference website here and the PDF of the Call for Submissions here. Here’s a list of suggested topics from the Call for Submissions,

Preparation & Characterization
Renewable Nanomaterial Isolation & Separation
Cellulose nanocrystals and nanofibrils
Plant, algal, bacterial and other sources
Lignin, heteropolysaccharides, chitosan, etc.
Lab & Pilot-Scale Production
Process Optimization
New isolation & extraction methods
Drying processes
Separation processes forr enewable nanomaterials
Sizing, mechanical,chemical, optical and surfaceproperties
Purity, molecular weight, crystallinity, etc.
Thermal, electrical and other properties
Toxicity, biocompatibility & Biodegradability
Self- and Direct-Assembly & Functionalities Nanostructured Materials by Self-assembly
Nano manufacture & self-assembly
Photonic bandgap pigments for special optical effects
Controlled delivery, immobilization, etc.
Novel Nano-enabled Functionalities
Surface modification and responsive materials
Optical effects for novel photonic applications
Inorganic materials template by cellulose nanocrystals
Novel electric, magnetic and piezoelectric effects
Sustainable polymer electronics
Carbon Fibers from Biomass
Production, characterization & uses
Membranes & Filters
New Membrane technologies
Air, water and bio filtration
Biomedical Applications
Ligament replacements, scaffolds, advanced woundtechnology
Bioactive materials
Rheology and Dispersion Phenomena
Rheology behavior in aqueous and non-aqueous systems
Viscoelastic properties, etc.
Composites, Hydrogels, and Aerogels
Nanocomposites and Renewable Nanomaterials
Nano-reinforced films and fibers
Biomimetic nanocomposites
Porous materials, gels and aerogels, foams and multiphase dispersed system
Bio-derived matrix polymers
Organic/Inorganic Hybrids
Flexible electronics, etc.
Metal functionalization, ALD, etc,
Manufacturing Applications
Rheology and Rheological Modifiers
Industrial processing applications, e.g., food, pharma, painting, coating, oil, gas, etc.
Dispersion and flocculation
Additive Manufacturing
Raw nanomaterials
Medical applications
3D printing
Paper, Board & Packaging
Coatings & Fillers
High modulus paper coatings
Wear and scratch resistant coatings
Flexible Packaging
Printing Technologies
Printing inks
Smart materials
Sensing technologies
Computer Modeling and Simulation
Multiscale Modeling
Solvation structure and hydrodynamics
Environmental, Health and Safety Issues
Workplace Safety & Standards
Current understanding andcritical gaps
Consumer perception and regulations
Management of risks and perceptions
Sustainability assessment, LCA

In digging about for information about the TAPPI nanotechnology conference,, I came across a reference to a meeting hosted by PAPTAC (Pulp and Paper Technical Association of Canada) regarding nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) or, as it’s also known, cellulose nanocrystals (CNC)  held in June 2013 in Victoria, BC (preparatory to the 17th [2013] International Symposium
on Wood, Fibre and Pulping Chemistry [ISWFPC] conference in Vancouver) I thought the CNC programme interesting enough to reproduce here,

Keynote lecture by Professor Arthur Carty, Executive Director of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology
Small World, Large Impact: Driving a Materials Revolution Through Nanotechnology
Dr Clive Willis, Former Vice President of National Research Council of Canada (NRC)
Standardization of CNC: Needs and Challenges
9:45 Coffee Break
Dr Richard Berry, VP and CTO, CelluForce Inc.
CelluForce—The Journey So Far
Dr Alan Rudie, USDA Forest Products Lab
Pilot Scale Production of Cellulose Nanocrystals and Cellulose Nanofibrils:
The US Need, FPL Process and Status
Professor Derek Gray, McGill University
Preparation and Optical Properties of Films Containing Cellulose Nanocrystals
12:30 Lunch
Professor Akira Isogai, Tokyo University
Applications of TEMPO-oxidized Cellulose Nanofibres to Gas Barrier Films and Nanocomposites
Dr Laurent Heux, CERMAV
Physico-chemical and Self-assembling Properties of CNC in Water and Organic Solvents
Professor Emily Cranston, McMaster University
Surface-modified Cellulose Nanocrystals: Characterization, Purification and Applications
15:45 Coffee Break
Dr Carole Fraschini, FPInnovations
Particle Issues in the Determination of Nanocellulose Particle Size
Dr Andriy Kovalenko, National Institute of Nanotechnology (NINT-NRC)
Multi-scale Modelling of the Structure, Thermodynamics,
and Effective Interactions of CNC in Different Solutions
19:00 Dinner and Award—Host: Dr J Bouchard

Monday, June 10

Dr Wadood Hamad, FPInnovations
Cellulose Nanocrystals for Advanced Functional Nanocomposites
Professor Michael Tam, University of Waterloo [emphasis mine]
Cellulose Nanocrystals—Functionalization, Characterization and Applications in Personal Care Systems
Professor Mark MacLachlan, University of British Columbia
Cellulose Nanocrystal-derived Porous Materials… With a Twist
10:45 Coffee Break
Professor Yaman Boluk, University of Alberta
Cellulose Nanocrystals in Soft Matter and Smart Applications
Professor Orlando Rojas, North Carolina State University
Self- and Direct-assembly of Cellulose Nanocrystals at Solid, Liquid and Air Interfaces: Fundamentals and Applications
12:45 Lunch
Professor John Simonsen, Oregon State University
Atomic Layer Deposition on Cellulose Nanocrystal Aerogels
Professor Alain Dufresne, Grenoble INP—Pagora
Processing of Nanocellulose Based Polymer Nanocomposites
Professor Monique Lacroix, INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier
The Use of Cellulose Nanocrystals in Food Packaging
16:00 Coffee Break
Professor Mark Andrews, McGill University
Cellulose NanocrystalsMake Light Work
Dr David Plackett, University of British Columbia
Cellulose Nanocrystals as a Vehicle for Delivery of Antibiotics

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Michael Tam bears the same last name as Janelle Tam whose father is named Michael and both of whom lived in Waterloo when the then 16 year old Janelle Tam placed first in the 2013 Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Competition (my May 11, 2012 posting).

There you have it, Good luck with your 2014 TAPPI nanotechnology conference submission.