(374e) Safer Formulation Concept for Flame-Generated Engineered Nanomaterials | AIChE

(374e) Safer Formulation Concept for Flame-Generated Engineered Nanomaterials


Cohen, J., Harvard University, School of Public Health
Pyrgiotakis, G., University of Florida
Pratsinis, S. E., ETH Zurich
Demokritou, P., Harvard School of Public Health

The likely success or failure of the nanotechnology industry depends on the environmental health and safety of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs). While efforts toward engineering safer ENMs are sparse, such efforts are considered crucial to the sustainability of the nanotech industry. A promising approach in this regard is to coat potentially toxic nanomaterials with a biologically inert layer of amorphous SiO2. Core-shell particles exhibit the surface properties of their amorphous SiO2 shell while maintaining specific functional properties of their core material. A major challenge in the development of functional core-shell particles is the design of scalable high-yield processes that can meet large-scale industrial demand.  Here, we present a safer formulation concept for flame-generated ENMs based on a one-step, in flight SiO2 encapsulation process, which was recently introduced by the authors as a means for a scalable manufacturing of SiO2 coated ENMs. Firstly, the versatility of the SiO2-coating process is demonstrated by applying it to four ENMs (CeO2, ZnO, Fe2O3, Ag) marked by their prevalence in consumer products as well as their range in toxicity. The ENM-dependent coating fundamentals are assessed and process parameters are optimized for each ENM investigated. The effects of the SiO2-coating on core material structure, composition and morphology, as well as the coating efficiency on each nanostructured material, are evaluated using state-of-the-art analytical methods (XRD, N2 adsorption, TEM, XPS, isopropanol chemisorption). Finally, the biological interactions of SiO2-coated vs. uncoated ENMs are evaluated using cellular and animal bioassays, providing valuable evidence for reduced toxicity for the SiO2-coated ENMs. Results indicate that the proposed ‘safer by design’ concept bears great promise for scaled-up application in industry in order to reduce the toxicological profile of ENMs for certain applications.


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