Nano Fabric Breaks Down Chemical Warfare Agents

Researchers from the lab of RTNN principal faculty member Greg Parsons have created a material capable of degrading chemical warfare agents (CWAs). Uniform coatings of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) were grown on electrospun nanofibers, forming unique kebab-like structures. These MOFs were able to break down CWAs making them harmless. The team conducted much of their characterization work at the Analytical Instrumentation Facility, a member of the RTNN. More information about the work can be found below and in the NC State Press release.

“Ultra-Fast Degradation of Chemical Warfare Agents Using MOF–Nanofiber Kebabs”
Junjie Zhao, Dennis T. Lee, Robert W. Yaga, Morgan G. Hall, Heather F. Barton, Ian R. Woodward, Christopher J. Oldham, Howard J. Walls, Gregory W. Peterson, and Gregory N. Parsons.

Abstract: The threat associated with chemical warfare agents (CWAs) motivates the wardevelopment of new materials to provide enhanced protection with a reduced burden. Metal–organic frame-works (MOFs) have recently been shown as highly effective catalysts for detoxifying CWAs, but challenges still remain for integrating MOFs into functional filter media and/or protective garments. Herein, we report a series of MOF–nanofiber kebab structures for fast degradation of CWAs. We found TiO2 coatings deposited via atomic layer deposition (ALD) onto polyamide-6 nanofibers enable the formation of conformal Zr-based MOF thin films including UiO-66, UiO-66-NH2, and UiO-67. Cross-sectional TEM images show that these MOF crystals nucleate and grow directly on and around the nanofibers, with strong attachment to the substrates. These MOF-functionalized nanofibers exhibit excellent reactivity for detoxifying CWAs. The half-lives of a CWA simulant compound and nerve agent soman (GD) are as short as 7.3 min and 2.3 min, respectively. These results therefore provide the earliest report of MOF–nanofiber textile composites capable of ultra-fast degradation of CWAs.