Designing Nanoparticle-based Dispersants with Improved Efficiency and Biocompatibility
DWH Project Funding
Known Leveraged Funding
Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI)
Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative GoMRI Grant Program
Chemical Aspects Research
The objective of the proposed research is to develop a platform of next-generation oil dispersants with superior uptake and stability, but with reduced toxicity, compared to existing remediation technologies. Our general approach involves the study of unimolecular micelles (UMs), which are materials that can stably encapsulate oil under any concentration conditions without requiring energy input. UMs have the remarkable property of dispersing oil in an equilibrium state, regardless of the environment. Based on our previous studies, UMs can be produced using a nanoparticle template, and we hypothesize that this platform can be extended to additional templates to elucidate how structural factors in the dispersant design affect performance (payload capacity, stability, toxicity) and cost. Our comprehensive approach will involve the synthesis and physiochemical characterization of novel dispersants, while integrating studies that determine nanotoxicological effects in fish development and growth.