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Toward an operational methodology to identify industrial-scaled nanomaterial powders with the volume specific surface area criterion

By Claire Dazon, Olivier Witschger, Sébastien Bau, Vanessa Fierro and Philip Llewellyn


International audienceNanoparticulate powders are increasingly found in the workplace. Inhalation exposure to airborne nanoparticles (NPs) is possible throughout the life-cycle of the powders. As the toxicity of NPs has never been demonstrated, it remains essential to evaluate the risks associated with NPs in order to propose preventative measures. The first step of a risk assessment strategy consists in the identification of the ‘nano’ nature of a material, which suffers from a lack of an operational methodology. Here, we present a simplified and operational strategy relying on the volume specific surface area (VSSA) for nanomaterial identification, based on the recommendation stemming from the European Commission and previous work on this topic from the European Project Nanodefine. The proposed strategy was tested on a set of 15 representative industrial powders (TiO2, SiO2, CuO, and ZnO), covering a wide range of properties, and previous published data. The VSSA classification was validated via a comparison with the particle size obtained by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). It was evidenced that the VSSA is in accordance with particle size for nanomaterial powder classification. The proposed methodology involves relatively accessible methods such as thermogravimetric analysis, nitrogen adsorption and helium pycnometry and limits the detection of false negatives. Moreover, it does not imply systematic confirmation of the results with the reference particle size criterion. Our results suggest that the VSSA is a promising parameter to be used for risk assessment and should be further investigated on powder mixings to confirm its relevancy to define nanomaterial powders

Topics: [PHYS.COND]Physics [physics]/Condensed Matter [cond-mat], [PHYS.COND.CM-MS]Physics [physics]/Condensed Matter [cond-mat]/Materials Science [cond-mat.mtrl-sci]
Publisher: RSC
Year: 2019
DOI identifier: 10.1039/C9NA00010K
OAI identifier: oai:HAL:hal-02357799v1
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