Journal of Nanoparticle Research

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 321–332 | Cite as

Kinetic stability of hematite nanoparticles: the effect of particle sizes

Research Paper


Nanoparticles are ubiquitous in environment and are potentially important in many environmental processes such as sorption, coprecipitation, redox reactions, and dissolution. To investigate particle size effects on nanoparticle aggregation and stability, this study tested aggregation behavior of 12(±2), 32(±3), and 65(±3) nm (hydrated radius) hematite particles under environmental relevant pH and ionic strength conditions. The results showed that at the same ionic strength and pH conditions, different particle sizes show different tendency to aggregate. At the same ionic strength, aggregation rates are higher for smaller particles. The critical coagulation concentration also depends on particle size, and decreases as particle size decreases. As the particle size decreases, fast aggregation shifted to lower pH. This may be related to a dependence of PZC on particle size originating from change of structure and surface energy characteristics as particle size decreases. Under the same conditions, aggregation occurs faster as particle concentration increases. Even though the nanoparticles of different sizes show different response to the same pH and ionic strength, DLVO theory can be used to qualitatively understand hematite nanoparticle aggregation behavior.


Hematite Nanoparticles Kinetic stability Particle size DLVO theory Agglomeration Soil contamination Environment 



The authors would like to acknowledge Benjamin Gilbert and two anonymous reviewers whose comments helped improve the manuscript. This work was carried out under U.S. Dept. of Energy Contracts No. DE-AC03-76SF00098, with funding provided by the U.S. Dept. of Energy, Basic Energy Sciences, Geosciences Research Program.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Earth Sciences DivisionLawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryBerkeleyUSA

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