Enhanced transport of zerovalent iron nanoparticles in saturated porous media by guar gum

  • Alberto Tiraferri
  • Rajandrea Sethi
Research Paper


In order to ensure adequate mobility of zerovalent iron nanoparticles in natural aquifers, the use of a stabilizing agent is necessary. Polymers adsorbed on the nanoparticle surface will give rise to electrosteric stabilization and will decrease attachment to the surface soil grains. Water saturated sand-packed columns were used in this study to investigate the transport of iron nanoparticle suspensions, bare or modified with the green polymer guar gum. The suspensions were prepared at 154 mg/L particle concentration and 0.5 g/L polymer concentration. Transport experiments were conducted by varying the ionic strength, ionic composition, and approach velocity of the fluid. Nanoparticle deposition rates, attachment efficiencies, and travel distances were subsequently calculated based on the classical particle filtration theory. It was found that bare iron nanoparticles are basically immobile in sandy porous media. In contrast, guar gum is able to ensure significant nanoparticle transport at the tested conditions, regardless of the chemistry of the solution. Attachment efficiency values for guar gum-coated nanoparticles under the various conditions tested were smaller than 0.066. Although the calculated travel distances may not prove satisfactory for field application, the investigation attested the promising role of guar gum to ensure mobility of iron nanoparticles in the subsurface environment.


Zerovalent iron nanoparticles Guar gum Colloid transport Groundwater remediation Saturated porous media Steric stabilization Environment EHS 



Reactive nano-scale iron particles


Reactive nano-scale iron particles coated with biodegradable polymer




Dynamic light scattering



This work was partially supported by the Project CIPE-C30 funded by Regione Piemonte, Italy. The authors wish to thank Dr. Menachem Elimelech at Yale University, New Haven, CT, Dr. Nathalie Tufenkji at McGill University, Montréal, Canada and Tim Schinner for Alberto’s training on column experiments and support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DITAG – Dipartimento di Ingegneria del Territorio, dell’Ambiente e delle GeotecnologiePolitecnico di TorinoTorinoItaly

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