Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2013

Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In

Occupational and Environmental Health

First Advisor

O'Shaughnessy, Patrick

First Committee Member

Anthony, Theresa Renée

Second Committee Member

Peters, Thomas


Objectives: 1 To correlate carbon nanotube (CNT) concentrations measured by Method 5040 relative to particle count concentrations; 2 to correlate CNT concentrations measured by Method 5040 relative to black carbon concentrations measured with an aethalometer; 3 to compare elemental carbon (EC) concentrations measured by Method 5040 among various CNT types and purities.

Methods: CNT samples were collected using 25 mm quartz fiber filters and analyzed for EC by Method 5040. An aethalometer was simultaneously used to measure black carbon concentrations. Samples sent for EC analysis included various CNT types (multi-walled, single-walled) and purities (high, low). Levels of EC concentration were subjected to a two-way analysis of variance having two levels of CNT type and two levels of purity.

Results: No correlation was established between CNT count and EC concentration, but a correlation was found between CNT volumetric and total carbon (TC) concentration. A significant correlation between black carbon and TC concentration was found. Method 5040 was found to have a positive bias for TC, and the aethalometer was found to have a positive bias for black carbon. Lastly, this study found that CNT type had no effect on EC concentration, but purity did have a significant effect on EC concentration.

Conclusions: Samples analyzed by Method 5040 were found to have 6 - 19% EC content, and thus surprisingly high amounts of organic carbon. It is reasoned that significant amounts of impurities were introduced to CNT samples while travelling through the experimental apparatus. When TC concentrations were plotted against black carbon concentrations a significant relationship was found and the bias of Method 5040 and the aethalometer cancelled out. Future research is needed to investigate the aethalometer as a surrogate for Method 5040. Until then, those conducting CNT exposure assessments should use a 25 mm cassette and increase the volume sampled to achieve a reporting limit lower than the NIOSH recommended CNT REL of 7 µg/m3.


aethalometer, carbon nanotube, exposure, Method 5040, NIOSH


vi, 43 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 38-43).


Copyright 2013 Adrianne Rachel Horne