Furthermore, nanotube-formulated materials were found to release significantly fewer micro-size particles, demonstrating their high strength and cohesion improvement.
End-users and manufacturers of products that use nano- and micro-sized carbon additives such as multi-wall carbon nanotubes and carbon fibre have been concerned for some time about the release of particles during damage to the material, OCSiAl says. Health and safety testing on migration of single wall carbon nanotubes from a material’s matrix was initiated by OCSiAl, the manufacturer of TUBALL single wall carbon nanotubes, and conducted by European research and technology organisation VITO. Simulation experiments on blank and TUBALL-nanoaugmented epoxy, polyethylene and elastomer materials were carried inside a test chamber and any possible aerosol release was captured and measured with a TEM microscope.
TEM analysis revealed that in the drilling and Taber abrading tests, no free-standing or protruding single wall carbon nanotubes were found. Another significant finding was that the number of micro particles released from the TUBALL-nanoaugmented materials in comparison with the blank materials decreased by up to 35%, depending on the type of the material. This is yet another demonstration of the bonding power of single wall carbon nanotube that enables a 3D nanotube network to greatly strengthen the material’s structure, OCSiAl reports. This enhancement of a material’s physical properties is the subject of ongoing research.
OCSiAl is working to improve knowledge of the health and safety issues surrounding single wall carbon nanotubes and is investing in research by independent universities. The company is an Associated Partner of the new EC4SafeNano project (part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme), which aims to ensure the sustainable production and use of nanotechnology. OCSiAl also reports that is the world’s first manufacturer of single wall carbon nanotubes to have registered them with the EU’’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulations. This allows it to produce and commercialise up to 10 tonnes of TUBALL in Europe annually.