Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researcher warns of health risks with carbon nanotubes

Date:
January 19, 2011
Source:
Luleå University of Technology
Summary:
Carbon nanotubes, which are extremely small fibers used in many new light and strong materials, may present health risks if inhaled, in the worst case leading to cancer, according to new research.

Carbon nanotubes are a modern and extremely light material that can add desirable properties to many industrial products, but they may be a health hazard. A new doctoral dissertation at Luleå University of Technology in Sweden shows that extremely small fibers such as carbon nanotubes can make their way far into the lungs, which in the worst case can present an increased risk of developing cancer.

"My research substantiates the concerns about health effects and is one reason we should be careful when handling with these materials," says Sofie Högberg, who now holds a PhD in engineering from the Division of Fluid Mechanics at Luleå University of Technology.

The result of her work indicates that the fibers that are most likely to make their way far into the lungs, perhaps all the way to the alveoli, are those with a diameter of c. 10-100 nanometers (1 nanometer = one billionth of a meter) and a length of 1-10 micrometers. This is a common size for carbon nanotubes.

In her research, she developed equations to describe the movements of a fiber. She then solved these equations numerically for a large number of fibers in a geometry and a flow field that represents the airways, in order to see what proportion of the inhaled fibers might be thought to fasten, depending on parameters like particle size and form.

The field of nanotechnology has been burgeoning in recent years, and today there are more than 1,000 nanoproducts on the market. The technology involves modifying material virtually at the level of the atom. Carbon nanotubes are a popular nanomaterial because of their combination of favorable properties that are desirable in many industrial products. By adding a small amount of carbon nanotubes it's possible to create materials that are strong yet still light in weight. However, with a diameter on the nanoscale and a highly elongated form, this extremely small particle can constitute a health risk.

"There are concerns, among others, that carbon nanotubes may lead to mesothelioma, a cancer form that previously has been associated only with asbestos," says Sofie Högberg.

Our knowledge of how spherical and fiber-shaped particles move can be used in other fields, such as production of composites and paper as well as medicines in aerosols. This means that Sofie Högberg's research has a wide spectrum of applications.

New doctoral dissertation by Sofie Högberg, LTU


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Luleå University of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Luleå University of Technology. "Researcher warns of health risks with carbon nanotubes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110118092134.htm>.
Luleå University of Technology. (2011, January 19). Researcher warns of health risks with carbon nanotubes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110118092134.htm
Luleå University of Technology. "Researcher warns of health risks with carbon nanotubes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110118092134.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gulfstream G500, G600 Unveiling

Gulfstream G500, G600 Unveiling

Flying (Oct. 20, 2014) — Watch Gulfstream's public launch of the G500 and G600 at their headquarters in Savannah, Ga., along with a surprise unveiling of the G500, which taxied up under its own power. Video provided by Flying
Powered by NewsLook.com
Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 20, 2014) — Scientists in Tokyo have demonstrated what they say is the world's first 3D projection that floats in mid air. A laser that fires a pulse up to a thousand times a second superheats molecules in the air, creating a spark which can be guided to certain points in the air to shape what the human eye perceives as an image. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) — Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com
What We Know About Microsoft's Rumored Smartwatch

What We Know About Microsoft's Rumored Smartwatch

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — Microsoft will reportedly release a smartwatch that works across different mobile platforms, has a two-day battery life and tracks heart rate. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins