Water, Air, & Soil Pollution

, 225:2107

Transport of Surface-Modified Nano Zero-Valent Iron (SM-NZVI) in Saturated Porous Media: Effects of Surface Stabilizer Type, Subsurface Geochemistry, and Contaminant Loading


DOI: 10.1007/s11270-014-2107-6

Cite this article as:
Dong, H. & Lo, I.M.C. Water Air Soil Pollut (2014) 225: 2107. doi:10.1007/s11270-014-2107-6


This study examined the transport behavior of nano zero-valent iron (NZVI) coated with three types of stabilizers (i.e., polyacrylic acid, Tween-20, and starch) in saturated sand- and soil-packed columns under varying geochemical conditions. The cations or ionic strength and humic acid (HA) affected the transport of NZVI in varying degrees for different types of surface-modified NZVI (SM-NZVI). The effects of HA on the transport of SM-NZVI were different in sand- and soil-packed columns. In the sand-packed column, the presence of HA exerted an effect on the particle–particle interaction (i.e., aggregation), resulting in either enhanced or decreased transport of SM-NZVI. However, in the soil-packed column, the HA not only influenced the particle–particle interaction but also exerted an effect on the particle–soil grain interaction (i.e., deposition). Additionally, a significant enhancement in the transport of SM-NZVI in the soil-packed column was observed with increasing particle concentration. Moreover, the adsorption of arsenic on the surface of SM-NZVI exhibited insignificant effect on the transport of SM-NZVI. The release of arsenic from the arsenic-loaded SM-NZVI was detected when subjected to flushing with phosphate-containing groundwater. This fundamental understanding of the subsurface transport of SM-NZVI is of critical importance for the benign use and risk management of SM-NZVI.


Nano zero-valent ironPorous mediaSurface stabilizationSubsurface geochemistryTransport

Supplementary material

11270_2014_2107_MOESM1_ESM.docx (809 kb)
ESM 1(DOCX 808 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringThe Hong Kong University of Science and TechnologyHong KongChina
  2. 2.College of Environmental Science & EngineeringHunan UniversityChangshaChina