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Carbon Nanotube Emissions from Arc Discharge Production: Classification of Particle Types with Electron Microscopy and Comparison with Direct Reading Techniques

Introduction: An increased production and use of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) is occurring worldwide. In parallel, a growing concern is emerging on the adverse effects the unintentional inhalation of CNTs can have on humans. There is currently a debate regarding which exposure metrics and measurement strategies are the most relevant to investigate workplace exposures to CNTs. This study investigated workplace CNT emissions using a combination of time-integrated filter sampling for scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and direct reading aerosol instruments (DRIs). Material and Methods: Field measurements were performed during small-scale manufacturing of multiwalled carbon nanotubes using the arc discharge technique. Measurements with highly time- and size-resolved DRI techniques were carried out both in the emission and background (far-field) zones. Novel classifications and counting criteria were set up for the SEM method. Three classes of CNT-containing particles were defined: type 1: particles with aspect ratio length:width >3:1 (fibrous particles); type 2: particles without fibre characteristics but with high CNT content; and type 3: particles with visible embedded CNTs. Results: Offline sampling using SEM showed emissions of CNT-containing particles in 5 out of 11 work tasks. The particles were classified into the three classes, of which type 1, fibrous CNT particles contributed 37%. The...

Ludvigsson, Linus; Isaxon, Christina; Nilsson, Patrik T.; Tinnerberg, Hakan; Messing, Maria E.; Rissler, Jenny; Skaug, Vidar; Gudmundsson, Anders; Bohgar, Mats; Hedmer, Maria; Pagels, Joakim
Annals of Occupational Hygiene 60(4): 493–512
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