Reducing hazardous material and environmental impact through recycling of scandium nanomaterial waste

Curtis E. Coumbe, University of Southern Mississippi
J. Paige Phillips Buchanan, University of Southern Mississippi
Steven Stevenson, University of Southern Mississippi


The emerging use of scandium and the environmental impact from scandium-containing waste is a rising environmental and health concern. With the development of new materials in the last decade, toxicological studies on those new materials have also been increasing. An example of a process which employs scandium is the generation of metallic nitride fullerene nanomaterials. This process typically generates 99+% scandium waste, as only small amounts of scandium are actually incorporated into the target fullerene molecules. We demonstrate a safe method to recover the scandium content in the waste, reuse the recovered material and successfully demonstrate a comparable product distribution without detectable health and environmental concerns.