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Quantifying Mechanical Abrasion of MWCNT Nanocomposites used in 3D Printing: Influence of CNT content on abrasion products and rate of microplastic production

Published

Author(s)

Nathan Bossa, Sipe M. Joana, Alan Kennedy, Treye Thomas, Christine O. Hendren, Mark R. Wiesner, Keana Scott, William Berger

Abstract

Manufactured nanomaterials (MNMs) are incorporated as "nanofillers" into consumer products to enhance properties of interest. Multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) are known for their unique properties and have many applications in polymers. However, the release of MWCNTs during the nanoenabled product life cycle is concerning. During the use phase, mechanical stresses can produce fragmented materials containing MNMs. The degree of MNM release, the resulting exposure to these materials, and the potential impacts of their release are active research topics. In this study, we describe methodological improvements to study the abrasion of plastics containing MNMs (nanocomposites) and report on characteristics of abrasion products produced and rates of microplastic production. The abrasion device developed for this work allows for the measurement of power inputs to determine scaled release rates. Abrasion rates for plastics used in 3D printing were found to be 0.27 g/m2/s for the PETG polymer and 0.3 g/m2/s for the 2% MWCNT–PETG nanocomposite. Embedded and protuberant MWCNTs appeared to impact the particle size, shape, hydrophobicity, and surface charge of the microplastics, while the inclusion of MWCNTs had a small effect on microplastic production. Measurements of power input to the abrasion process provided a basis for estimating microplastic production rates for these nanocomposites.
Citation
Environmental Science & Technology

Citation

Bossa, N. , Joana, S. , Kennedy, A. , Thomas, T. , Hendren, C. , Wiesner, M. , Scott, K. and Berger, W. (2021), Quantifying Mechanical Abrasion of MWCNT Nanocomposites used in 3D Printing: Influence of CNT content on abrasion products and rate of microplastic production, Environmental Science & Technology, [online], https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.0c02015, https://tsapps.nist.gov/publication/get_pdf.cfm?pub_id=929290 (Accessed December 7, 2022)
Created July 15, 2021, Updated October 14, 2021