Key factors controlling the transport of silver nanoparticles in porous media

Amro M. El Badawy, Ashraf Aly Hassan, Kirk G. Scheckel, Makram T. Suidan, Thabet M. Tolaymat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


The current study investigated the mobility of four silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) stabilized using different capping agents and represent the common stabilization mechanisms as well as surface charging scenarios in reactive and nonreactive porous media. The AgNPs were (1) uncoated H2-AgNPs (electrostatically stabilized) and (2) citrate coated AgNPs (Citrate-AgNPs) (electrostatically stabilized), (3) polyvinylpyrrolidone coated AgNPs (PVP-AgNPs) (sterically stabilized), and (4) branched polyethyleneimine coated AgNPs (BPEI-AgNPs) (electrosterically stabilized). The porous media were (1) quartz sand (QS), (2) ferrihydrite-coated sand (FcS), and (3) kaolin-coated sand (KcS). The H2-AgNPs and Citrate-AgNPs were readily mobile in QS but significantly retained in FcS and KcS with more deposition achieved in the KcS media. The deposition of the H2-AgNPs and Citrate-AgNPs followed the order of KcS > FcS > QS. The PVP-AgNPs breakthrough occurred more rapid as compared to the H2-AgNPs and Citrate-AgNPs but the deposition of PVP-AgNPs followed the same order of the electrostatically stabilized AgNPs (KcS > FcS > QS). The BPEI-AgNPs were readily mobile regardless of the porous media reactivity. Physicochemical interactions were the dominant filtration mechanism in the majority of the investigated cases but straining played the major role in the deposition of the electrostatically stabilized H 2-AgNPs and Citrate-AgNPs in the KcS media. The results highlight the importance of both the stabilization mechanism and capping agent chemistry as key factors governing the transport of AgNPs in the environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4039-4045
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - May 7 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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