About this Research Topic
Natural nanomaterials are enjoying a surge in interest as a novel family of materials due to being safe and harmless to human health and the ecological environment. Nanoclays are an important family of natural nanomaterials, composed of safe, naturally abundant elements such as Si, O, Al, Mg, Ca, and Fe. Nanoclays have special nanoscale structures, morphologies and diverse dimensions from 1D to 3D.
Nanorods, nanofibers, nanotubes, nanosheets and nanoarchitectures, widely used in modern industry and human life can all be found in nature. Thus, nanoclay-based materials have been recognized as future “green materials” and show huge prospects in the fields of environment, energy, fine chemicals and catalysis. Moreover, Nanoclays are key in the construction of some hybrid functional materials, and so are playing more and more roles in developing new eco-friendly functional materials.
A variety of natural polymers/clays composites have been developed and are being used in biological, medicinal and environment remediation applications. However, there is still a long way to go to substitute traditional synthetic nanomaterials with natural ones. Firstly, the natural clay mineral needs to be dispersed in nanoscale and even smaller sizes by physical/chemical methods to ensure sufficient dispersion. Secondly, the dispersed nanoclay needs to be modified by a chemical approach to tune its surface properties. Thirdly, the modified nanoclay sometimes needs to be compounded with other materials to form composites with superior performance. Although the development of nanoclays and their applications in functional materials have attracted much attention in recent years, basic research is lacking, especially regarding the modification and the composite mechanism. Consequently, this area has many more ambiguous and unsolved questions, and the design of new eco-friendly materials is adding even more complexity and introducing further questions.
This Research Topic welcomes novel research progress on the green synthesis, modification, and composite of natural nanomaterials by new chemical/physical methods; the fabrication of various eco-materials from natural nanoclays; the corresponding mechanism; and the applications of such materials for environmental remediation by adsorption, catalysis, film filtration, ultrafiltration and flocculation processes. New methods for structure characterization and performance evaluation are involved in this research field. The current Research Topic welcomes original research/review/opinion/perspective articles. The specify subject is listed as follows:
• Novel chemical/physical methods to disperse silicate clay in nanoscale
• Novel chemical/physical approaches to tune the structure and properties of nanoclays for improving performance
• Novel chemical/physical approaches to design and fabricate natural polymers/nanoclays and nanocomposites.
• Large scale production technologies of eco-friendly materials at industrial level
• Application of new characterization technologies to reveal the reaction mechanism and structure of the final materials
• Design of eco-friendly materials with different morphologies and porous structures
• Mechanism for the synthesis, modification, and nanocomposite of natural nanomaterials.
Keywords: Nanoclay, Natural polymer, Polymerization, Grafting, Nanocomposite, Adsorption, Catalysis, Environment Remediation, Sustainability, Nanotechnology