In this chapter, we evaluate the tungsten (W) nanoparticle toxicity with respect to the normal human skin fibroblast cell. Tungsten dust formation is expected in the tokamak-type nuclear fusion installations, regarded as future devices for large-scale, sustainable, and carbon-free energy. This dust, composed of tungsten particles of variable size, from nanometers to micrometers, could be harmful to humans in the case of loss of vacuum accident (LOVA). In order to undertake the toxicity studies, tokamak-relevant dust has been deliberately produced in laboratory and afterward analyzed. Following that, cytotoxicity tests were performed using normal human skin fibroblast cell lines, BJ ATCC CRL 2522. Our study concludes that, at a low concentration (until 100 μg/mL), no cytotoxic effect of tungsten nanoparticles was observed. In contrast, at higher concentrations (up to 2 mg/mL), nanometric dust presents toxic effects on the cells.
Part of the book: Nanomaterials
Tungsten and tungsten nanoparticles are involved in a series of processes, in nanotechnology, metallurgy, and fusion technology. Apart from chemical methods, nanoparticle synthesis by plasma offers advantages as good control of size, shape, and surface chemistry. The plasma methods are also environmentally friendly. In this chapter, we present aspects related to the magnetron sputtering gas aggregation (MSGA) process applied to synthesis of tungsten nanoparticles, with size in the range of tens to hundreds of nanometers. We present the MSGA process and its peculiarities in the case of tungsten nanoparticle synthesis. The properties of the obtained particles with a focus on the influence of the process parameters over the particle production rate, their size, morphology, and structure are discussed. To the end, we emphasize the utility of such particles for assessing the environmental and biological impacts in case of using tungsten as wall material in thermonuclear fusion reactors.
Part of the book: Progress in Fine Particle Plasmas