U.S. Army receives patent for nanotubular titania for chemical decontamination

The U.S. Army received a patent last week for nanotubular titania to use for the decontamination of chemical warfare agents in addition to toxic industrial chemicals.

Inventors George W. Wagner, Yue Wu and Alfred Kleinhammes said that exposure to chemical warfare agents, such as mustard gas and VX, is a possible hazard to armed forces and civilian populations. Once hardware and equipment is contaminated with highly toxic agents, the contaminant must be removed to minimize contact hazards, NewsRx reports.

"For this reason, there is an acute need to develop and improve technology for decontamination of highly toxic materials," the inventors said, according to NewsRx. "This is especially true for the class of toxic agents known as nerve agents or nerve gases which are produced and stockpiled for both industrial use and as CW agents ... In addition to the concerns about CW agents, there is also a growing need in the industry for decontamination of industrial chemicals and/or insecticides."

The inventors said that XE555 resin, a decontamination material currently used by the U.S. Army, has several disadvantages, including the inability to neutralize toxic agents, a high cost and slow reactions with chemical warfare agents.

"Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to meet the foregoing needs by providing reactive sorbents that are able to effectively decontaminate CW agents and minimize the creation of secondary hazards," the inventors said, according to NewsRx. "Such reactive sorbents of the present invention are, for example, based on nanotubular titania."

The patent includes several embodiments of nanotubular titania, including a decontamination liquid, a fabric that contains a certain percentage of nanotubular titania and a kit containing the sorbent, NewsRx reports.