Characterization of nanoparticles from abrasive waterjet machining and electrical discharge machining processes

Tsz Yan Ling, David Y.H. Pui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Abrasive Waterjet Machining (AWM) and Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) processes are found to produce nanoparticles during operation. Impacts of engineered nanoparticles released to the environment and biological system have caused much concern. Similarly, the nanoparticles unintentionally produced by the AWM and EDM can lead to comparable effects. By application of the Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA) technique, the size distribution and concentration of nanoparticles in the water used in AWM and EDM were measured. The particles generally have a peak size of 100-200 nm. The filtration systems of the AWM and EDM processes were found to remove 70% and 90% the nanoparticles present, respectively. However, the particle concentration of the filtered water from the AWM was still four times higher than that found in regular tap water. These nanoparticles are mostly agglomerated, according to the microscopy analysis. Using the electron dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) technique, the particles are confirmed to come from the debris of the materials cut with the equipment. Since AWM and EDM are widely used, the handling and disposal of used filters collected with nanoparticles, release of nanoparticles to the sewer, and potential use of higher performance filters for these processes will deserve further consideration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12721-12727
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 19 2013


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