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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2016

Retention of 14C-labeled multiwall carbon nanotubes by humic acid and polymers: Roles of macromolecule properties

Zhao, Qing; Petersen, Elijah J.; Cornelis, Geert; Wang, Xilong; Guo, Xiaoying; Tao, Shu; Xing, Baoshan


Developing methods to measure interactions of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) with soils and sediments and understanding the impact of soil and sediment properties on CNT deposition are essential for assessing CNT environmental risks. In this study, we utilized functionalized carbon-14 labeled nanotubes to systematically investigate retention of multiwall CNTs (MWCNTs) by 3 humic acids, 3 natural biopolymers, and 10 model solid-phase polymers, collectively termed macromolecules. Surface properties, rather than bulk properties of macromolecules, greatly influenced MWCNT retention. As shown via multiple linear regression analysis and path analysis, aromaticity and surface polarity were the two most positive factors for retention, suggesting retention was regulated by pi-pi stacking and hydrogen bonding interactions. Moreover, MWCNT deposition was irreversible. These observations may explain the high retention of MWCNT in natural soils. Moreover, our findings on the relative contribution of each macromolecule property on CNT retention provide information on macromolecule selection for removal of MWCNTs from wastewater and provide a method for measuring CNT interactions with organic macromolecules. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Published in

2016, Volume: 99, pages: 229-237

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Physical Chemistry

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