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J Colloid Interface Sci. 2010 Aug 1;348(1):101-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jcis.2010.04.036. Epub 2010 Apr 18.

Effects of natural organic matter on aggregation kinetics of boron nanoparticles in monovalent and divalent electrolytes.

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  • 1Keck Geotechnical/Geoenvironmental Laboratory, Center for Environmental Systems, Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ 07030, USA.


Nano boron is a promising new propellant being considered for military and civilian applications; however, the impact of its release on the environment is largely not known. The early stage aggregation kinetics of boron nanoparticles was investigated in the presence of two kinds of natural organic matter-Suwannee River humic acid (SRHA) and sodium alginate-by dynamic light scattering and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The addition of SRHA caused the boron nanoparticles to stabilize and resulted in (1) decreased attachment efficiency for the reaction-controlled regime and (2) an increase in the critical coagulation concentration, in CaCl(2) and MgCl(2) solutions. The increase in the electrostatic repulsion is suggested as a main cause of the induced stabilization as indicated by the electrophoretic mobility measurements. Similar behavior was observed in the presence of alginate and MgCl(2). However, the attachment efficiency kept increasing in the presence of CaCl(2) and alginate with the increase in the electrolyte concentration and was greater than unity at>4mM CaCl(2). The destabilization was attributed to bridging of the nanoparticles by the alginate-Ca(2+) system. Results from this study suggest that various NOM and electrolytes play significant and differing roles in the aggregation of boron nanoparticles in natural aquatic environments.

Copyright (c) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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