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Issue 4, 2018
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Colloidal and chemical stabilities of iron oxide nanoparticles in aqueous solutions: the interplay of structural, chemical and environmental drivers

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Abstract

Nanoparticle (NP) stability in aqueous environments is dependent upon many parameters including environmental conditions, NP concentrations as well as NP intrinsic characteristics. In this study, the effects of pH and surface modifications on the colloidal and chemical stabilities of nanosized magnetite (Fe3O4), maghemite (γ-Fe2O3) and hematite (α-Fe2O3) are investigated. Because changes in surface charge affect the size distribution of NP, pH plays a key role in driving the colloidal stability. More NP aggregation is observed at pH values close to the pH of zero point of charge (pHzpc). Coating of magnetite with humic acid (HA) and phosphatidylcholine (PC) affects the electrostatic interactions and then the colloidal behavior of NP. The rapid transformation of magnetite into maghemite through air oxidation results in significant modification of both surface charge and specific surface area of NP. Because the maghemite almost exclusively formed μm-scale aggregates, the colloidal stability of magnetite is expected to be hindered in oxic environments. For hematite, the particle size distribution data emphasize the influence of both pH and intrinsic surface properties in colloidal stability. These findings may have strong implications for an accurate prediction of the transformation and mobility of Fe-nanoparticles under environmentally relevant conditions and thus their fate in nature.

Graphical abstract: Colloidal and chemical stabilities of iron oxide nanoparticles in aqueous solutions: the interplay of structural, chemical and environmental drivers

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Publication details

The article was received on 03 Dec 2017, accepted on 05 Mar 2018 and first published on 12 Mar 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7EN01159H
Citation: Environ. Sci.: Nano, 2018,5, 992-1001
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    Colloidal and chemical stabilities of iron oxide nanoparticles in aqueous solutions: the interplay of structural, chemical and environmental drivers

    E. Demangeat, M. Pédrot, A. Dia, M. Bouhnik-le-Coz, F. Grasset, K. Hanna, M. Kamagate and F. Cabello-Hurtado, Environ. Sci.: Nano, 2018, 5, 992
    DOI: 10.1039/C7EN01159H

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