Toxicological assessment of nanocrystalline metal alloys with potential applications in the aeronautical field

Sci Rep. 2022 Jan 27;12(1):1523. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-05406-5.


The development of new candidate alloys with outstanding characteristics for their use in the aeronautical field is one of the main priorities for the sector. In this context, nanocrystaline (nc) alloys are considered relevant materials due to their special features, such as their exceptional physical and mechanical properties. However, another important point that needs to be considered with newly developed alloys is the potential toxicological impact that these materials may have in humans and other living organisms. The aim of this work was to perform a preliminary toxicological evaluation of three nc metal alloys (WCu, WAl and TiAl) in powder form produced by mechanical alloying, applying different in vitro assays, including a mix of W-Cu powders with standard grain size in the experiments to stablish comparisons. The effects of the direct exposure to powder suspensions and/or to their derived leachates were analysed in three model organisms representative of human and environmental exposures (the adenocarcinomic human alveolar basal epithelial cell line A549, the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the Gram negative bacterium Vibrio fischeri). Altogether, the results obtained provide new insights about the potential harmful effects of the selected nc alloys, showing that, from a toxicological perspective, nc TiAl is the safest candidate in the model organisms and conditions tested.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't