Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Vol.360, No.2, 548-555, 2011
Mechanisms of TiO2 nanoparticle transport in porous media: Role of solution chemistry, nanoparticle concentration, and flowrate
The role of solution chemistry, nanoparticle concentration and hydrodynamic effects in the transport and deposition of TiO2 nanoparticles through porous media has been systematically investigated. Two solution chemistry variables, pH and ionic strength (IS), showed a significant influence on the transport due to their involvement in the aggregation of the nanoparticles and interaction with quartz sand. An electrostatically unfavorable condition for deposition existed at pH 7, at which the greatest retention occurred in the column, likely due to aggregation (> 1000 nm) and straining effects. Under electrostatically favorable conditions (pH 5) significant elution from the column was observed and attributed to smaller aggregate size (similar to 300 nm) and blocking effects. Nanoparticle concentration was found to contribute to the increased breakthrough of nanoparticles at pH 5 due to blocking and subsequent particle-particle repulsion. Increased flowrate resulted in greater elution of nanoparticles due to hydrodynamic forces acting on aggregates and subsequently contributed to blocking. Overall, a combination of mechanisms including straining, blocking, and DLVO-type forces were involved over the range of solution chemistry and nanoparticle concentrations tested. Consideration of these mechanisms is necessary for improved removal of TiO2 nanoparticles via filtration and reliable prediction of transport of these potentially problematic nanoparticles through the subsurface. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.