Case 1: Emission of nanoparticles from automobile application to road runoff water


The research team is studying the emission of nanoparticles from cars and roads. The trend for winter tire studs has been to make the particle size of the starting material of smaller size to improve performance. These particles are likely to be washed off by rainwater or melting snow and be transported into larger water bodies. Sampling in these waters and sediment will reveal to what extent metal nanoparticles enter the waters and how widely they are spread.

The consortium has obtained some preliminary results which demonstrate that there is high abundance of tungsten carbide (often cobalt containing) in highway runoff waters during the winter season. The dominating emission source is believed to be tire studs (Tuoriniemi, J., PhD thesis 2013).

Further research will contribute with knowledge on the fate of metal nanoparticles in the environment and whether they are in a toxic form or not. This enables the prediction of hazards towards aquatic organisms.


“The program can contribute with important knowledge about how nanoparticles with different shape, size and surface chemical properties are modified by natural biological molecules, and how the modified particle, as compared to bare particles, affect aquatic organisms and ecosystems.”

Tommy Cedervall, Associate Professor, Lund University


Studies of the effect of tungsten carbide nanoparticles indicates that they don’t have acute negative effects on the tested aquatic wildlife.

Systematic studies of representative model nanoparticles will also be carried out in the program (see Case 2).

Work Packages (WP) that are dealing with this case: WP 1        WP 2        WP 3

Have a question?

+46 31-772 10 00


Contact information

Mistra Environmental Nanosafety

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.