Performance of Particulate Containment at Nanotechnology Workplaces
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Performance of Particulate Containment at Nanotechnology Workplaces

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  • Alternative Title:
    J Nanopart Res
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    The evaluation of engineering controls for the production or use of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) was investigated at two facilities. These controls assessments are necessary to evaluate the current status of control performance and to develop proper control strategies for these workplaces. The control systems evaluated in these studies included ventilated enclosures, exterior hoods, and exhaust filtration systems. Activity-based monitoring with direct-reading instruments and filter sampling for microscopy analysis were used to evaluate the effectiveness of control measures at study sites. Our study results showed that weighing CNTs inside the biological safety cabinet can have a 37% reduction on the particle concentration in the worker's breathing zone, and produce a 42% lower area concentration outside the enclosure. The ventilated enclosures used to reduce fugitive emissions from the production furnaces exhibited good containment characteristics when closed, but they failed to contain emissions effectively when opened during product removal/harvesting. The exhaust filtration systems employed for exhausting these ventilated enclosures did not provide promised collection efficiencies for removing engineered nanomaterials from furnace exhaust. The exterior hoods were found to be a challenge for controlling emissions from machining nanocomposites: the downdraft hood effectively contained and removed particles released from the manual cutting process, but using the canopy hood for powered cutting of nanocomposites created 15%-20% higher ultrafine (<500 nm) particle concentrations at the source and at the worker's breathing zone. The microscopy analysis showed that CNTs can only be found at production sources but not at the worker breathing zones during the tasks monitored.
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