Cumberland, Susan Alison (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
Engineered nanoparticles are defined as having a dimension that is between one and one hundred nanometres. With toxicology studies reporting various degrees of toxicity the need to investigate nanoparticle fate and behaviour is vital. Monodispersed engineered nanoparticles were synthesised in-house to produce suitable materials to examine such processes. Iron oxide nanoparticles (5 nm) and citrate coated silver nanoparticles (20 nm) were subjected to different conditions of pH, ionic strength and different types of commercially available natural organic matter. Changes in particle size and aggregation were examined using a multi-method approach. Results showed that the natural organic matter was able to absorb onto nanoparticle surfaces and improve their stability when subjected to changes in pH and ionic strength, where they would normally aggregate. The presence of higher concentrations of NOM in some cases promoted aggregation due to bridging. This work also concluded that silver nanoparticles could be produced in the presence of NOM without additional stabilisers and that they themselves were stable. This work has demonstrated that engineered nanoparticles could remain stable within a range of environmental conditions, and thus raise future pollution concerns.
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