Hitchman, Adam Peter (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
The field of nanotechnology has seen much growth in recent years as nanoparticles have found usage in many applications. This has led to increases in nanoparticle production and as such it is ever more likely that these nanoparticles will find their way into the aquatic environment.
In this work, sterically stabilised polyvinyl pyrrolidone (PVP) 7 nm gold nanoparticles (NPs) were synthesised and characterised as prepared by their surface plasmon resonance (SPR), size, aggregation, morphology and surface charge. They were then exposed to changes in environmentally relevant conditions (pH, ionic strength, Ca concentration and fulvic acid presence) and the results quantified. These sterically stabilised NPs showed no aggregation with changes in pH or inorganic ions, even under high (0.1 M) Ca concentrations. In addition, the presence of fulvic acid resulted in no observable and significant changes in SPR, size, aggregation or surface chemistry, suggesting limited interaction between the PVP stabilised nanoparticles and fulvic acid. Due to the lack of aggregation and interaction, these NPs are expected to be highly mobile and potentially bioavailable in the environment.
The second half of this investigation focused upon how these NPs were transported within a recirculating flume with both a plane bed structure and with a bedform present. This showed that the nanoparticles moved freely between the stream and the bed and appear to be under the influence of water flow rather than simply diffusion.
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