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Toxic Action of Nanopowders


Toxic Action of Nanopowders of Hard Alloys Constituents Produced by Plasmachemical Synthesis

Tech Area / Field

  • MED-OTH/Other/Medicine
  • MAT-OTH/Other/Materials

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Genisaretskaya S V

Leading Institute
VNIIKhT (Chemical Technology), Russia, Moscow

Supporting institutes

  • Russian academy of advanced medical studies, Russia, Moscow\nBaykov Metallurgy and Materials Institute, Russia, Moscow


  • Fraunhofer Institut Keramische Technologien und Systeme, Germany, Dresden\nSurface Technological Advanced Research, Italy, Modena

Project summary

The project’s purpose is to develop the methods of physical-chemical properties control of nanopowder metals and metal-carbon composition applied for nanostructural hard alloys and also to held toxicity studies of manufactured nanopowders and to estimate the nature of toxicity originating from physical-chemical properties.

Nowadays nanotechnologies are the most rapidly developed area of science and technology. In 2004 the value of the state financing of the research works in the world scale was about US $ 3.5 billion under the same scale of non-state investments. According to the National Science Foundation of USA forecast international market in the field of nanotechnologies in nearest future will be US $ 1 trillion.

Present-day production of hard alloys on base of tungsten carbide and other carbides comes too close to the production of nanostructural alloys with grain size 102 nm and even lower. Such alloys manufacture is based on production and subsequent compacting of corresponding nanopowders having considerably smaller particle size.

Plasmachemical processes take one of the leading places in developed technologies of the production of metal nanopowders and their different compounds and might be applied effectively in the synthesis of nanopowder metal, metal-carbon compositions for nanostructural hard alloys manufacture.

Expected in the nearest future increase of researches and designs in the field of nanotechnologies, implementation of the commercial yield of nanomaterials, the necessity to utilize these materials pose the problem of the nanomaterials potential to be hazardous to environment and human health, the work with nanopowders causes the greatest potential risks.

Through the experiments researchers determine the concrete facts of toxic effect of nanoparticles, in particular of the new forms of carbon (fullerenes, nanotubes) on biological objects. However the problems of the potential hazardous influence of nanoparticles on environment and occupational diseases are far from profound understanding.

The prior trends of investigations with assistance of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in ЕС countries and USA are to lower the risk of occupational diseases and to eliminate the hazardous impact of nanoparticles to environment.

Physical-chemical properties of nanopowders such as nanoparticle size and their structure and the nanoparticles surface peculiarities define their reactivity with biological objects and correspondingly the potential toxicity. At the same time physical-chemical properties of nanopowders depend on the conditions of their manufacture and interaction with the environment (in particular with air environment), where nanopowders transfer to the biological object takes place.

Within the frames of the present Project it is supposed to:

  • held research on the regularities of nanopowder metals and metal-carbon compositions production in the flow of thermal plasma,
  • find out the relationship between changes in physical-chemical properties of nanopowders and conditions of their production,
  • determine the toxicity of nanopowders applied in nanostructual hard alloys and its nature,
  • work out preventive measures against occupational diseases on scientific base.

Nanopowders of tungsten, tungsten carbide, tungsten-carbon compositions and cobalt will be the main objects of the investigations.

Complex investigations are the basis of the Project:

  • study of the influence of plasmachemical synthesis conditions on dispersed, chemical and phase composition of hard alloys,
  • study of physical-chemical properties of nanopowders and the properties changes by exposure to the environment where nanopowders transfer to the human organism might take place,
  • production of certificated nanopowders batches for biological investigations,
  • study of nanopowder biological activity peculiarities:
  • nanopowders impact on specific activity of proteolytic system of human blood plasma, inpidual proteins released from human blood plasma,
  • cytotoxic properties of nanopowders with respect to separate cell elements,
  • nanopowders impact on circulatory system, main enzyme system, lever, kidneys, internals structure,
  • nanopowders distribution over the internals and their release from the organism.

As a result of the Project fulfillment:
  • regularities of plasmachemical synthesis of nanopowder hard alloys constituents will be investigated and the methods of physical-chemical properties control of nanopowders under plasmachemical synthesis will be elaborated,
  • physical-chemical properties of nanopowders will be studied,
  • potential toxicological characteristics of nanopowders will be studied,
  • correlation binding toxicological characteristics of nanopowders and their affecting concentration and their physical-chemical properties with its dispersion in the first place will be obtained,
  • estimations of nanopowders toxicity nature on base of their physical-chemical properties will be fulfilled,
  • prediction of the value of toxicokinetics parameters of nanopowders for humans will be proposed on base of the animal tests,
  • nanopwders harmful effect threshold will be defined,
  • well-grounded methods of safe handling during their manufacture and subsequent use.

The peculiarity of the Project is its complex character. Research involves all the studies from nanopowders manufacture and the study of their physical-chemical properties up to the studies of nanopowders impact on biological objects, at the same time potential changes of the properties under the contact of nanoparticles with environment in particular with air are examined.

When the Project will be completed and manufacture of nanostructural hard alloys will be implemented the possibility for future research to provide the safe industrial nanotechnologies in practice appears.

The results of the investigation within the frames of the Project will be applied in:

  • material nanoscience (new nanostructural hard alloys and the technology of their production),
  • nanotoxicology and environmental protection (safe handling of nanopowders).

Proposed Project corresponds to the aims and tasks of ISTC, just it gives the opportunity to the scientists and specialists of Russian Research Institute of Chemical Technology (VNIIHT) jointly with the specialists of Baykov Institute of Metallurgy and Material Science (IMET RAS) and Ministry of health and social development of the Russian Federation Russian academy of advanced medical studies (RAAMS) to use their scientific experience in peaceful fields, makes it possible to support applied investigations in the field of nanotechnology, nanotoxicology and environmental protection.

Exploration according to the Project will be held at available experimental base of the institutions - members of scientific research without additional capital investments employing certificated equipment and installations, test equipment and experimental methods meeting requirements of modern science and technology and suitable approach to the Project Tasks decision.


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