Journal of Undergraduate Research


carbon nanotube filtration device, separating oil, fracking waste


Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology


Mechanical Engineering


Pyrolytic Carbon Infiltration Carbon Nanotubes (CI-CNTs) can isolate water and oil molecules due to its superhydrophobic and oleophilic properties, unique cylindrical nanostructure, and functional groups1. Because the waste produced from fracking is nonreusable due to the molecular oil droplets contained in it, the waste is typically injected back underground, which pollutes safe drinking water2. This can be avoided with an inexpensive and efficient oil and water filter. The mentored research project revolved around a CI-CNT filter used to salvage waste created from fracking.

The design of a CI-CNT device was approached by three main considerations: a geometry that would encourage the fluid to have optimal contact with the CI-CNT surface, a method to reuse the CI-CNT surface once saturated with oil, and a fabrication method that could make large, robust, and cost efficient CI-CNT devices.