NanoDESK is a 3-year project co-financed by the Interreg SUDOE Programme through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), whose main objective is to create a set of tools aimed at ensuring the technical viability and safety of nanomaterials-based products and processes (ENMs) in the main market segments of the plastic sector. The project addresses the main challenges posed by the application of additives on the nanometer scale in the business fabric of the plastic sector, including the lack of information on the specific types of nanomaterials used to obtain high added value products and the need to know and evaluate the potential health and environmental risks of polymeric nanomaterials and nano-composites. The collaboration of research centres and companies from Portugal, Spain and France within the framework of the project will result in the development of tools that will allow the improvement of the competitiveness of the plastic sector, while guaranteeing the safety of processes and products.
The project addresses the development of an on-line observatory as a main tool for accessing information on the applications of nanomaterials in the main industrial sectors of the plastic sector, including additives, packaging, automotive, infrastructure, aerospace, medical devices and wellness. Relevant news, articles and publications of interest, regulatory aspects and related sectorial events will be disseminated for each of the industrial segments addressed. As complementary information, the observatory will contain information on specific types of nanomaterials and their potential applications. The observatory will also have a specific section on the safety and health aspects of nanomaterials, including information on toxicological properties, life-cycle exposure, emissions to the environment, and preventive measures.
The NanoDESK platform is the central axis of the project. It will comprise a set of computer applications aimed at the assisted selection of nanomaterials, the search for information in proven databases "Data Mining", the characterisation of the toxicological profile, the assessment of exposure levels in working environments and common uses at the consumption stage, and the estimation of emission levels to the environment. The specific applications are:
Web application to guide the user in the selection of nanomaterials suitable for the type of polymer matrices and properties you want to achieve. The application is based on the integration of selection criteria based on the suitability of nanomaterials to the properties of interest, potential risks and estimated costs.
Web application to support the user in defining the toxicological profile of nanomaterials to be used as polymer matrix additives. The models are based on the application of computational chemistry, in particular quantitative relationship activity structure (QSAR) models for predicting potential adverse effects on human health and the environment.
Web application aimed at evaluating the levels of occupational exposure to nanomaterials, their aggregates and/or agglomerates (NOAA) during the manufacture of polymer nanocomposites, end-of-life processes and/or their use in consumer articles, and the estimation of unintentional emissions of nanomaterials into the environment.
Web application to facilitate the search for relevant and reliable information on specific types of nanomaterials of interest in the plastic sector. The platform provides access to information available in proven databases, including additional data processing tools.
The roadmap and strategic plan is an essential document within the project framework. It will include detailed information on planned applications of nanotechnology over a 10-year time horizon, emerging markets and challenges to ensure the protection of human health and the environment.
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