Characterization of nanoparticles released during construction of photocatalytic pavements using engineered nanoparticles

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With the increasing use of titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles in self-cleaning materials such as photocatalytic concrete pavements, the release of nanoparticles into the environment is inevitable. Nanoparticle concentration, particle size, surface area, elemental composition, and surface morphology are pertinent to determine the associated risks. In this study, the potential of exposure to synthetic nanoparticles released during construction activities for application of photocatalytic pavements was measured during laboratory-simulated construction activities of photocatalytic mortar overlays and in an actual field application of photocatalytic spray coat. A scanning mobility particle sizer system measured the size distribution of nanoparticles released during laboratory and field activities. Since incidental nanoparticles are released during construction activities, nanoparticle emissions were compared to those from similar activities without nano-TiO2. Nanoparticle counts and size distribution suggest that synthetic nanoparticles are released during application of photocatalytic pavements. In order to identify the nanoparticle source, nanoparticles were also collected for offline characterization using transmission electron microscopy. However, positive identification of synthetic nanoparticles was not possible due to difficulties in obtaining high-resolution images. As a result, further research is recommended to identify nanoparticle composition and sources. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012.

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Journal of Nanoparticle Research

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