Remediation of colloid-facilitated contaminant transport in saturated porous media treated by nanoparticles

D. Arab, P. Pourafshary*, Sh Ayatollahi, A. Habibi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Facilitation of contaminant transport in porous media due to the effect of indigenous colloidal fine materials has been widely observed in laboratory and field studies. It has been explained by the increase in the apparent solubility of low soluble contaminants as a result of their adsorption on the surface of fine particles. Attachment of colloidal fine particles onto the rock surface could be a promising remedy for this challenge. In this experimental study, the effect of five types of metal oxide nanoparticles, γ-Al2O3, ZnO, CuO, MgO, and SiO2, on suspension transport was investigated. In several core flooding tests, different nanofluids were used to saturate the synthetic porous media. Subsequently, after sufficient soaking time, the suspension was injected into the treated porous media. Analysis of the effluent samples' concentration by Turbidimeter apparatus demonstrated that the presence of nanoparticles on the rock surface resulted in a significant reduction in fine concentrations in the effluent samples compared with non-treated media; ZnO and γ-Al2O3 demonstrated the best scenarios among the tests performed in this study. In order to characterize the surface properties of the treated porous media, the zeta potential of the surface was measured. Results showed that the treated porous media acts as a strong adsorbent of fine particles, which are the main carrier of contaminants in porous media. These findings were quantitatively confirmed by calculation of the total energy of interaction between the fine particles and rock surface using the Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-216
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Science and Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Fine particles migration
  • Groundwater
  • Nanotechnology
  • Porous media
  • Subsurface colloids
  • Zeta potential alteration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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