Effect of primary particle size on colloidal stability of multiwall carbon nanotubes

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) are one type of nanoparticles that have various special properties and potential applications. Due to their increasing production and potential toxicological effects, the environmental behavior and transport of MWCNTs have become important research topics. Particle size is one of the important properties of nanoparticles, yet its effects on MWCNT environmental behaviors have not been fully investigated. In this study, we tested how the length of MWCNTs influenced their settling in the presence of Na+ and/or natural organic matter (NOM), and postulated the governing mechanisms. The results showed that when adding Na+ the shorter MWCNTs exhibited preferential aggregation and settling. One possible reason could be that shorter MWCNTs possess larger specific surface area and consequently stronger attraction forces. However, NOM strongly mitigated such aggregation, and helps to disperse MWCNTs regardless of their length and aqueous conditions.

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