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Environ Sci Technol. 2008 Jun 15;42(12):4416-21.

Natural organic matter (NOM) adsorption to multi-walled carbon nanotubes: effect of NOM characteristics and water quality parameters.

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  • 1School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 200 Bobby Dodd Way, Atlanta, Georgia 30332, USA.


The effect of natural organic matter (NOM) characteristics and water quality parameters on NOM adsorption to multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWNT) was investigated. Isotherm experiment results were fitted well with a modified Freundlich isotherm model that took into account the heterogeneous nature of NOM. The preferential adsorption of the higher molecular weight fraction of NOM was observed by size exclusion chromatographic analysis. Experiments performed with various NOM samples suggested that the degree of NOM adsorption varied greatly depending on the type of NOM and was proportional to the aromatic carbon content of NOM. The NOM adsorption to MWNT was also dependent on water quality parameters: adsorption increased as pH decreased and ionic strength increased. As a result of NOM adsorption to MWNT, a fraction of MWNT formed a stable suspension in water and the concentration of MWNT suspension depended on the amount of NOM adsorbed per unit mass of MWNT. The amount of MWNT suspended in water was also affected by ionic strength and pH. The findings in this study suggested that the fate and transport of MWNT in natural systems would be largely influenced by NOM characteristics and water quality parameters.

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