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Educational Programs and Outreach

Oak Forest High School / Tinley Park High School ESRP 2016

Estimating the Effect of Saliva on Silver Nanoparticle Concentration on Cloth Samples


  • Students:
    • Amir Al-Sheikh (Oak Forest High School)
    • Erin Anderson (Tinley Park High School)
    • David Kavalauskas (Tinley Park High School)
    • Elizabeth Klimek (Tinley Park High School)
    • Adam Kral (Oak Forest High School)
    • Patrick Nolan (Tinley Park High School)
    • David Pleta (Tinley Park High School)
    • Eric Vondrak (Tinley Park High School)
    • Casey Weisfuss (Tinley Park High School)
    • Abigail Zatkalik (Tinley Park High School)
  • Teachers:
    • James Birrell (Tinley Park High School)
  • Mentors:
    • Volker Rose (Argonne National Laboratory, Advanced Photon Source & Center for Nanoscale Materials)

Center for Nanoscale Materials

The goal of this experiment is to determine if the presence of saliva will reduce the silver nanoparticle concentration on a surface.  As discussed below, the toxicity of silver nanoparticles is currently being researched by a number of groups. In this experiment, we attempted to determine whether the concentration of silver nanoparticles diminishes on surfaces when immersed in an environment designed to mimic a human mouth.

Our results suggest that there is a correlation between the silver concentration on a sample and the saturation time.  We can see this in both the elemental maps produced using the hard x-ray nanoprobe and the integrated spectra of our samples, which show a reduction in silver concentration with the amount of time that the cloth spent in the saliva solution.

More work needs to be done in this area to quantitatively determine the rate of silver removal from the sample, as well as the absorption of silver nanoparticles into the human body and the possible effects of silver nanoparticles on human health.

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