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Environ Sci Technol. 2009 Nov 1;43(21):8153-8. doi: 10.1021/es901340d.

Mobility of multiwalled carbon nanotubes in porous media.

Author information

  • 1Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, The University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada N6A 5B8.

Erratum in

  • Environ Sci Technol. 2010 Mar 15;44(6):2214.


Engineered multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) are the subject of intense research and are expected to gain widespread usage in a broad variety of commercial products. However, concerns have been raised regarding potential environmental and human health risks. The mobility of MWCNTs in porous media is examined in this study using one-dimensional flow-through column experiments under conditions representative of subsurface and drinking water treatment systems. Results demonstrate that pore water velocity strongly influenced MWCNT transport, with high MWCNT mobility at pore water velocities greater than 4.0 m/d. A numerical simulator, which incorporated a newly developed theoretical collector efficiency relationship for MWCNTs in spherical porous media, was developed to model observed column results. The model, which incorporated traditional colloid filtration theory in conjunction with a site-blocking term, yielded good agreement with observed results in quartz sand-packed column experiments. Experiments were also conducted in glass bead-packed columns with the same mean grain size as the quartz sand-packed columns. MWCNTs were more mobile in the glass bead-packed columns.

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