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

  • D. Arab
  • P. Pourafshary
  • Sh. Ayatollahi
  • A. Habibi
Original Paper


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.


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



The authors acknowledge financial and scientific support provided by the Faculty of petroleum engineering at the Institute of Petroleum Engineering (IPE), University of Tehran.

Supplementary material

13762_2013_311_MOESM1_ESM.docx (40 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 40 kb)


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Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Arab
    • 1
  • P. Pourafshary
    • 1
  • Sh. Ayatollahi
    • 2
  • A. Habibi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemical Engineering, Institute of Petroleum EngineeringUniversity of TehranTehranIran
  2. 2.EOR Research Center, School of Petroleum and Chemical EngineeringShiraz UniversityShirazIran

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