Interdisciplinary Research to Elucidate Mechanisms Governing Silver Nanoparticle Fate and Transport in Porous Media

Friday, 18 December 2015: 08:00
3016 (Moscone West)
Kurt D Pennell1, Anjuliee Mittleman1, Amir Taghavy2, John Fortner3, Daniele Lantagne1 and Linda M Abriola1, (1)Tufts University, Medford, MA, United States, (2)University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Civil and Environmental Engineering, New Bedford, MA, United States, (3)Washington University in St Louis, Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering, St. Louis, MO, United States
Interdisciplinary Research to Elucidate Mechanisms Governing Silver Nanoparticle Fate and Transport in Porous Media

Anjuliee M. Mittelman, Amir Taghavy, Yonggang Wang, John D. Fortner, Daniele S. Lantagne, Linda M. Abriola and Kurt D. Pennell*

Detailed knowledge of the processes governing nanoparticle transport and reactivity in porous media is essential for accurate predictions of environmental fate, water and wastewater treatment system performance, and assessment of potential risks to ecosystems and water supplies. To address these issues, an interdisciplinary research team combined experimental and mathematical modeling studies to investigate the mobility, dissolution, and aging of silver nanoparticles (nAg) in representative aquifer materials and ceramic filters. Results of one-dimensional column studies, conducted with water-saturated sands maintained at pH 4 or 7 and three levels of dissolved oxygen (DO), revealed that fraction of silver mass eluted as Ag+ increased with increasing DO level, and that the dissolution of attached nAg decreased over time as a result of surface oxidation. A hybrid Eulerain-Lagragian nanoparticle transport model, which incorporates DO-dependent dissolution kinetics and particle aging, was able to accurately simulate nAg mobility and Ag+ release measured in the column experiments. Model sensitivity analysis indicated that as the flow velocity and particle size decrease, nAg dissolution and Ag+ transport processes increasingly govern silver mobility. Consistent results were obtained in studies of ceramic water filters treated with nAg, where silver elution was shown to be governed by nAg dissolution to form Ag+ and subsequent cation exchange reactions. Recent studies explored the effects of surface coating aging on nAg aggregation, mobility and dissolution. Following ultraviolet light, nAg retention in water saturated sand increased by 25-50%, while up to 50% of the applied mass eluted as Ag+ compared to less than 1% for un-aged nAg. In batch experiments, the addition of tert-butyl alcohol, a reactive oxygen species scavenger, reduced nAg aggregation and dissolution by up to 50%, indicating that free radical activity played an important role in the surface coating aging. Taken in concert, these findings demonstrate the value of undertaking