Research Project nanoTrack

REM Aufnahme eines Nanokompositlackes
REM Aufnahme eines Nanokompositlackes nach UV-A Bestrahlung
Aufnahme: Leibniz-Institut für Oberflächenmodifizierung

Our ongoing project "nanoTrack" is included in the project call "NanoNature" and funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The project deals with the

„Investigation of the life cycle of nanoparticles be means of [45Ti]TiO2 and [105Ag]Ag0

Engineered nanoparticles are widely used in consumer products. In case of products aging or abrasion, a source for particle release into the environment could be opened up. Due to the small size, free nanoparticles are likely to have excess to environmental media and to be transported over certain distances. The aim of our project is to elucidate nanoparticles (TiO2 and Ag0) fate and behaviour released from composite varnish e.g. from outdoor facades. Some of the goals are to obtain qualitative and quantitative data about relevant processes and governing conditions of particle release and transport in the environment. This is meant to form a knowledge base for decision-making for environmental protection. To answer these complex questions an interdisciplinary consortium of scientists and industrial partners from the fields of material science, geoscience and ecotoxicology is cooperating.

Project partners

The industrial project partner CETELON Nanotechnik GmbH deals with research and development of abrasion-resistant vanishes and paints that contain nanoparticles such as TiO2 and Ag0 for providing unique product properties. CETELON is conducting experiments concerning particle release from vanish due to stress, aging or abrasion. Therefore, radioactive labelled particles are used in the  vanish under study and standardised decomposition tests are applied. The Leibnitz Institute of Surface Modification is a project partner with strong expertise and equipment in the field of research, development and characterisation of vanish systems. In nanoTrack, nanoparticle-containing vanishes are engineered and nanoparticles release rates from model vanishes are studied.

The use of radioactive labelled nanoparticles opens up the chance for specific particle tracking in low concentrations and in complex environments with a high background load of natural nanoparticles and colloids. The Reactive Transport division of HZDR has excellent know-how and equipment to work with radioactive material  and is developing strategies for nanoparticle labelling. Interactions of these particles with natural matrices such as soil, sediment materials or water will be studied in batch and column experiments. Based on the results, the behaviour of TiO2- and Ag0 nanoparticles in aqueous systems can be described not only qualitatively but also quantitatively. This knowledge is meant to contribute to a data base for reactive transport modelling of nanomaterials in flow through systems.

Another important focus of this project is to study potential ecotoxicological implications of these released nanoparticles. In cooperation with the department of environmental toxicology from Eawag, Switzerland, particles effects due to uptake and transfer in organisms and particles behaviour in physiological media are studied. Therefore, organisms have been chosen along the ecological food chain of algae, daphnia and fish. These studies will contribute to a systematic evaluation of environmental risks posed by nanomaterials towards organisms.


Dr. Karsten Franke (HZDR, head of project)

Dr. Heike Hildebrand (HZDR)

Dr. Stefan Schymura (HZDR)

Dr. Enzo Mai (CETELON Nanotechnik GmbH)

Annette Freyer (Leibnitz Institute of Surface Modification)

Prof. Dr. Kristin Schirmer (Eawag)

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