1. Caroline Golin
  2. http://www.igert.org/profiles/4725
  3. Graduate Student
  4. Presenter’s IGERT
  5. Georgia Institute of Technology
  1. Thomas Bougher
  2. http://www.igert.org/profiles/4828
  3. Graduate Student
  4. Presenter’s IGERT
  5. Georgia Institute of Technology
  1. Anne Mallow
  2. http://www.igert.org/profiles/4836
  3. Graduate Student
  4. Presenter’s IGERT
  5. Georgia Institute of Technology
  1. Saujan Sivaram
  2. http://www.igert.org/profiles/4832
  3. Graduate Student
  4. Presenter’s IGERT
  5. Georgia Institute of Technology

Judges’ Queries and Presenter’s Replies

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Presentation Discussion
  • May 23, 2012 | 08:18 a.m.

    Do you think that fullerenes will pose a similar health risk? They are chemically similar to graphene and CNTs, but does their morphology make them safer?

  • Icon for: Thomas Bougher

    Thomas Bougher

    Co-Presenter
    May 23, 2012 | 11:18 p.m.

    Jennifer,
    That is a very good question. Much of the concern regarding CNT is indeed because of their high aspect ratio, which has been previously shown to be more dangerous when deposited in the lungs (as with asbestos). However our work and a number of previous studies have made observations that CNTs are rarely airborne as individual tubes and are more often clumps of tubes. Without better knowledge of how a material such as C60 becomes airborne (clumped or individual) it is difficult to say if the risk is similar. Regardless you are certainly correct in assuming that the morphology will play a significant role in the inhalation risk.

  • Icon for: Mariko Walton

    Mariko Walton

    Coordinator
    May 24, 2012 | 12:40 p.m.

    Interesting aspect to the energy issues that I don’t notice being explored much.

  • Icon for: Carol Johnson

    Carol Johnson

    Trainee
    May 24, 2012 | 02:05 p.m.

    You give examples of nanotechnology applications, CNT-based or otherwise, but then jump right to your study that is related to inhalation risk. What mechanisms do you think are the most critical for people to be inhaling CNTs from nanotech products? The only one I can really think of is during the manufacturing process if there is mechanical grinding of powders. Do you really think we will get exposed to CNTs in any other way? C60s are different in that they are naturally-occurring aerosols from combustion processes i.e. forest fires, which people could theoretically be exposed to.

  • Icon for: Saujan Sivaram

    Saujan Sivaram

    Co-Presenter
    May 29, 2012 | 07:32 p.m.

    Hi Carol,
    You’re spot on. The largest inhalation risk is at the manufacturing stage. The end-user has little exposure risk; however, the particles may be aerosolized during breakage or failure (think exploding Li-ion batteries). These particles could be a risk depending on the aerodynamic diameter. I think it is important to note that public perception/education is critical to successful nanotechnology implementation. Although the nanomaterials may be able to boost the efficiency of energy harvesting devices such as photovoltaics, public fear of the health risks, whether warranted or not, may prevent widespread nanomaterial utilization.

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