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


There are high demands for hard and wear resistant materials in society, e.g., in metal working industry, in engine and bearing surface applications, in mining, on road scrapers and in winter tire studs. Various metal carbides are among the most suitable materials used, and tungsten carbide (WC) has the most wide spread range of applications. Tungsten carbide is a ceramic material that is often cemented with other metals such as cobalt (Co) to improve material properties. Furthermore, the trend has been to make the particle size of the starting material of smaller size to improve performance. Thus it is now common to use tungsten carbide nanoparticles that are sintered under high temperature and pressure into a nanostructured material. Such hard materials are used in nanotechnological products from, e.g., Sandvik (SANDVIK "Nano-Series" cemented carbide grades… Hard material used for tools. (Sandvik 2004)).

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

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