Author(s): Lecoanet HF, Wiesner MR
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Abstract Products of nanochemistry have been proposed in a number of applications ranging from soil stabilization and cosmetics to groundwater remediation. A fundamental understanding of the transport properties of these materials is essential to assess their efficacy and environmental impact in such applications. In this work, we consider the effect of flow on nanoparticle transport and deposition in porous media. The transport of three aqueous suspensions of fullerenes in a well-characterized porous medium is compared with that of two oxide nanomaterials at two flow rates. Despite significant differences in surface chemistry and size, the fullerenes exhibited an unexpected and similar breakthrough behavior at the higher flow rate. A striking characteristic of the fullerene breakthrough curves obtained at the higher Darcy velocity was an initial enhancement in nanoparticle deposition shortly after the passage of the first pore volume of suspension, followed by an increase in passage. This velocity-sensitive "affinity transition" in the initial deposition of nanoparticles in the porous medium was observed for fullerene-based materials only at the higher velocity and was in no case observed for silica or titania nanoparticles. The removal of fullerene-based nanoparticles was observed to converge to a level that was independent of flow velocity, suggesting that under these conditions time scales for attachment or reorganization on the surface are greater than the time scale for transport to collector surfaces.
This article was published in Environ Sci Technol
and referenced in Journal of Civil & Environmental Engineering