A new catalytic material for decontamination of toxics and odorants using only ambient air as the oxidant.
- Decontaminates nerve agents, toxic industrial chemicals, and odorous household compounds.
- Oxygen is the only other reagent needed for the reaction to occur.
Our new decontaminant comprises of tetra-n-butylammonium (TBA) and an iron salt of bromide ions. It can be used to convert nerve agents and other toxic or odorous compounds to benign products. Oxygen is the only reagent needed to complete the reaction, and our research has proven that the reaction works when either pure oxygen or ambient air is provided. For part of our research, we used the stimulant (2-chlorethyl ethyl sulfide) for mustard gas to validate the efficacy of our new catalyst. Previous research has found that catalysts that decontaminate the stimulant show effectively the same activity on mustard itself. Future studies will determine whether our new catalyst will have the same activity on mustard gas.
Previous catalysts used to decontaminate chemical warfare agents have always required the presence of light, high temperature, or other energy sources. Unfortunately, many environments that require decontamination do not have some or any of these energy sources. Our catalyst does not require any source of energy. Many current decontaminants rely on stoichiometric reactions and contain a large amount of oxidant or reactive. For these reasons, they are usually corrosive or deleterious to the skin, require special containers for their storage, and as a result, and cannot be used to decontaminate coatings, fabrics, filter materials, etc. Unlike all of these reagents, our reagent is catalytic, very stable, and can be used in either solid forms or in organic solvents.
Proof of principle research has been completed with household odor stimulants and the stimulant for mustard gas.