The release of dust generated during sanding or sawing of nanocomposites was compared with conventional products without nanomaterials. Epoxy-based polymers with and without carbon nanotubes, and paints with different amounts of nano-sized titanium dioxide, were machined in a closed aerosol chamber. The temporal evolution of the aerosol concentration and size distribution were measured simultaneously. The morphology of collected dust by scanning electron microscopy was different depending on the type of nanocomposites: particles from carbon nanotubes (CNTs) nanocomposites had protrusions on their surfaces and aggregates and agglomerates are attached to the paint matrix in particles emitted from alkyd paints. We observed no significant differences in the particle size distributions when comparing sanding dust from nanofiller containing products with dust from conventional products. Neither did we observe release of free nanomaterials. Instead, the nanomaterials were enclosed or partly enclosed in the matrix. A source strength term Si (cm−3 s−1) that describes particle emission rates from continuous sources was introduced. Comparison between the Si parameters derived from sanding different materials allows identification of potential effects of addition of engineered nanoparticles to a composite.
Annals of Work Exposures and Health, 2014, p. 1-12
Aerosol size distributions; Nanomaterial; Nanotechnology; Occupational health