Transport and deposition of CeO2 nanoparticles in water-saturated porous media

Zhen Li, Endalkachew Sahle-Demessie, Ashraf Aly Hassan, George A. Sorial

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)


Ceria nanoparticles are used for fuel cell, metal polishing and automobile exhaust catalyst; however, little is known about the impact of their release to the environment. The stability, transport and deposition of engineered CeO2 nanoparticles through water-saturated column packed with sand were studied by monitoring effluent CeO2 concentration. The influence of solution chemistry such as ionic strength (1-10 mM) and pH (3-9) on the mobility and deposition of CeO2 nanoparticles was investigated by using a three-phase (deposition-rinse-reentrainment) procedure in packed bed columns. The results show that water chemistry governs the transport and deposition of CeO2 nanoparticles. Transport is significantly hindered at acidic conditions (pH 3) and high ionic strengths (10 mM and above), and the deposited CeO2 particles may not be re-entrained by increasing the pH or lowering the ionic strength of water. At neutral and alkaline conditions (pH6 and 9), and lower ionic strengths (below 10 mM), partial breakthrough of CeO2 nanoparticles was observed and particles can be partially detached and re-entrained from porous media by changing the solution chemistry. A mathematical model was developed based on advection-dispersion-adsorption equations and it successfully predicts the transport, deposition and re-entrainment of CeO2 nanoparticles through a packed bed. There is strong agreement between the deposition rate coefficients calculated from experimental data and predicted by the model. The successful prediction for attachment and detachment of nanoparticles during the deposition and re-entrainment phases is unique addition in this study. This work can be applied to access the risk of CeO2 nanoparticles transport in contaminated ground water.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4409-4418
Number of pages10
JournalWater Research
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Ceria
  • Flow through porous media
  • Modeling transport and deposition
  • Nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ecological Modelling
  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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