Investigation of the transport and deposition of fullerene (C60) nanoparticles in quartz sands under varying flow conditions

Yusong Li, Yonggang Wang, Kurt D. Pennell, Linda M.A. Briola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

214 Scopus citations


A coupled experimental and mathematical modeling invest on was undertaken to explore nanoscale fullerene aggregate (nC60) transport and deposition in water-saturated porous media. Column experiments were conducted with four different size fractions of Ottawa sand at two pore-water velocities. A mathematical model that incorporates nonequilibrium attachment kinetics and a maximum retention capacity was used to simulate experimental nC60 effluent breakthrough curves and deposition profiles. Fitted maximum retention capacities (Smax), which ranged from 0.44 to 13.99 μg/g, are found to be correlated to normalized mass flux. The developed correlation provides a means to estimate Smax as a function of flow velocity, nanoparticle size, and mean grain size of the porous medium. Collision efficiency factors, estimated from fitted attachment rate coefficients, are relatively constant (∼0.14) over the range of conditions considered. These fitted values, however, are more than 1 order of magnitude larger than the theoretical collision efficiency factor computed from Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek (DLVO) theory (0.009). Data analyses suggest that neither physical straining nor attraction to the secondary minimum is responsible for this discrepancy. Patch-wise surface charge heterogeneity on the sand grains is shown to be the likely contributor to the observed deviations from classical DLVO theory. These findings indicate that modifications to clean-bed filtration theory and consideration of surface heterogeneity are necessary to accurately predict nC60 transport behavior in saturated porous media.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7174-7180
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 1 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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