Better Upscaling and Optimization of Nanoparticle and Nanostructure Production by Means of Electrical Discharges (2012-2016)
The objective of this EU joint project coordinated by a CENIDE member is to produce industrial-scale quantities of high-quality nanoparticles in an as energy-efficient and environmentally friendly way as possible. Researchers are using vaporization methods that have already been proven on a small scale and involve the formation of small particles through arcing or plasma discharge. This type of process is both secure and flexible, which means that another material in the form of nanoparticles can be produced within a very short space of time by replacing the electrodes.
The 21 partners from industry and science include, among others, the universities of Lund (Sweden), Delft (the Netherlands), and Tampere (Finland), as well as the ThyssenKrupp steel group.
Managing Risks of Nanomaterials MARINA
The project stands for integrated and intelligent testing, integrated assessment, and modular interconnection of knowledge and information for validated science-based risk management methods. The approach is to shift from toxicology studies of specific individual nanomaterials towards developing tools for a more integrated systematic health and environmental safety assessment and management that can handle the overall risks for types or classes of engineered nanomaterials based on their physico-chemical properties. Therefore, Marina addresses the four central themes for the Risk Assessment and Management of Nanomaterials: Materials, Exposure, Hazard, and Risk.
Nanomaterials via Gas-Phase Synthesis: A Design-Oriented Modelling and Engineering Approach (2015 - 2018)
The main objective of the NanoDome project is to develop a robust model-based design and engineering toolkit for the detailed prediction of complex nanomaterial structures produced in a commercially-relevant generic bottom-up Gas-Phase (GP) synthesis process, to improve the control of the nanomaterial production and the industrially-scalable GP synthesis process for more accurate final product properties (e.g. particle size, surface area, structure, chemical composition, morphology and functionalization coatings) and provide potential end-users with a validated tool based on scientific principles that enables predictive design of novel nanomaterials and novel GP production routes thereby shortening their development process. This will be pursued by combining computational modelling, software development and systematic validation activities at lab- and industrial-scale in a three-year project. Existing meso-scale nanomaterial GP synthesis modelling approaches (Lagrangian and stochastic) will be extended and integrated with continuum-scale reactor models to provide a fully functional single discrete mesoscopic model for the evolution of the nanoparticle population inside a control volume as a function of time, together with detailed description of nanoparticle composition and internal structure (e.g. core-shell, multi-layer, radially-dependent composition), particle interaction, coagulation and morphology. Industrial and lab-scale validation will focus on a set of target materials of great impact for the EU, using technologies currently at TRL4-6. The work proposed in the NanoDome project addresses the aforementioned challenges by delivering a modelling and analysis tool for the detailed prediction of complex nanomaterial structures formation in a single-step and industrially scalable GP synthesis process, in order to optimize existing processes, shorten the development of new processes and increase the production rates.
Assessment of Individual Exposure to manufactured nanomaterials by means of personal monitors and samplers.
Inhalation of airborne manufactured nanomaterials (e.g. nanoparticles) is seen as the most critical uptake route for humans and may possibly lead to adverse health effects. The highest probability for exposure to airborne nanomaterials exists for workers in workplaces where these nanomaterials are produced, handled or used otherwise. Inhalation exposure can best be estimated by measuring the airborne particle concentration near the nose and mouth of a worker, which has until very recently not been possible due to a lack of suitable nano-specific personal samplers and monitors. These have only recently become available. Their comparability, accuracy and field-practicability will be scrutinized in nanoIndEx. The new instruments will be used to generate a large dataset on workers’ individual exposure to nanomaterials that will be provided to existing exposure databases. Standard operation procedures and guidance documents on the proper use of the instruments and for data evaluation will be written. They will be made publicly available.
Assessment of the use of particle reactivity metrics as an indicator for pathogenic properties and predictor of potential toxicological hazard
Toxicological studies in recent years have shown that the prediction of pathogenic properties of nanomaterials is not per se possible and that significant knowledge on the nanomaterial itself is necessary. Quite a few of these studies also strongly indicate that particle surface area and the potential to form reactive oxidants are highly promising metrics to predict the toxic potency of manufactured nanomaterials (MNM). In this project a grouping of MNMs is envisaged by using a combined strategy which, on the one hand, comprises an in-depth analysis of the physical characteristics of selected MNM suspensions and, on the other hand, the thorough evaluation of their toxic response in human cells. It is envisaged that this approach provides a bridging of nanomaterial characterization and toxicity evaluation by simplifying a MNM classification e. g. for MNM producers.
New Materials for High Moment Poles and Shields (2013 – 2017)
The ever-expanding demand of the world market leads to magnetic recording data storage devices advancing toward much smaller dimensions and higher storage capacities. In order to achieve capacities beyond 2TB/in2 next generation magnetic recording head transducers will require improved high moment magnetic material together with novel write pole and shield structures to preserve the necessary magnetic flux on reduced device dimensions. These goals can only be reached through a strong collaborative program between industry and academia (Universities of Duisburg-Essen, Uppsala (Sweden), IT Company Seagate). The scientific program is to study the properties of magnetic materials to enable higher moments than the presently attainable limits. Nanoscale engineering of magnetic thin films will be the main approach to achieve this.