2012 Volume 50 Issue 2 Pages 147-155
Various applications of multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) have been developed. One of these applications is an efficient sheet heating element that is woven from MWCNT-coated yarn. In this research, we assessed the exposure to MWCNT and/or the probability of particle release from broken MWCNT-coated yarn during the weaving process. This was accomplished using particle concentrations, microscopic observation, and carbon analysis. In the weaving process, neither an increase in the number of particles nor a difference in particle-size distribution was observed. In the scanning electron micrographic observation, nanosize MWCNT particles were not detected, but there were micron-size particles containing MWCNT as fragments of the yarn. Carbon analysis showed the concentration of micron-size particles containing MWCNT did not exceed 0.0053 mg-C/m3 around the loom. This value was much lower than the respirable dust mass concentration. Most of micron-size particles seemed to originate from polyester yarn without MWCNT coating. It is recommended that workers use conventional (even not specialized for nanoparticles) personal protective equipment such as respirators and gloves to prevent exposure to respirable-size MWCNT-containing particles. The probability of MWCNT fall-off from the MWCNT-coated yarn was not detected by transmission electron microscopic observation of MWCNT-coated yarn before or after the weaving process.