Titanium dioxide nanoparticles have risen concerns about their possible toxicity and the European Food Safety Authority recently banned the use of TiO2 nano-additive in food products. Following the intent of relating nanomaterials atomic structure with their toxicity without having to conduct large-scale experiments on living organisms, we investigate the aggregation of titanium dioxide nanoparticles using a multi-scale technique: starting from ab initio Density Functional Theory to get an accurate determination of the energetics and electronic structure, we switch to classical Molecular Dynamics simulations to calculate the Potential of Mean Force for the connection of two identical nanoparticles in water; the fitting of the latter by a set of mathematical equations is the key for the upscale. Lastly, we perform Brownian Dynamics simulations where each nanoparticle is a spherical bead. This coarsening strategy allows studying the aggregation of a few thousand nanoparticles. Applying this novel procedure, we find three new molecular descriptors, namely, the aggregation free energy and two numerical parameters used to correct the observed deviation from the aggregation kinetics described by the Smoluchowski theory. Ultimately, molecular descriptors can be fed into QSAR models to predict the toxicity of a material knowing its physicochemical properties, enabling safe design strategies.

Multi-Scale Modelling of Aggregation of TiO2 Nanoparticle Suspensions in Water / Mancardi, G.; Alberghini, M.; Aguilera-Porta, N.; Calatayud, M.; Asinari, P.; Chiavazzo, E.. - In: NANOMATERIALS. - ISSN 2079-4991. - ELETTRONICO. - 12:2(2022), p. 217. [10.3390/nano12020217]

Multi-Scale Modelling of Aggregation of TiO2 Nanoparticle Suspensions in Water

Mancardi G.;Alberghini M.;Asinari P.;Chiavazzo E.
2022

Abstract

Titanium dioxide nanoparticles have risen concerns about their possible toxicity and the European Food Safety Authority recently banned the use of TiO2 nano-additive in food products. Following the intent of relating nanomaterials atomic structure with their toxicity without having to conduct large-scale experiments on living organisms, we investigate the aggregation of titanium dioxide nanoparticles using a multi-scale technique: starting from ab initio Density Functional Theory to get an accurate determination of the energetics and electronic structure, we switch to classical Molecular Dynamics simulations to calculate the Potential of Mean Force for the connection of two identical nanoparticles in water; the fitting of the latter by a set of mathematical equations is the key for the upscale. Lastly, we perform Brownian Dynamics simulations where each nanoparticle is a spherical bead. This coarsening strategy allows studying the aggregation of a few thousand nanoparticles. Applying this novel procedure, we find three new molecular descriptors, namely, the aggregation free energy and two numerical parameters used to correct the observed deviation from the aggregation kinetics described by the Smoluchowski theory. Ultimately, molecular descriptors can be fed into QSAR models to predict the toxicity of a material knowing its physicochemical properties, enabling safe design strategies.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11583/2951614