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Effect of surfactants, pH and water hardness on the surface properties and agglomeration behavior of engineered TiO2 nanoparticles

Published in Environmental Science: Nano. 2017, vol. 4, no. 1, p. 203-211
Abstract The influence of sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) on the stability of TiO2 engineered nanoparticle (ENP) dispersions is investigated in various pH conditions, SDS and divalent cation concentrations. Based on different scenarios and systematic measurements of surface charges and z-average sizes, a detailed mechanistic approach is proposed assuming surfactant adsorption/desorption, charge inversion, cation bridging, specific adsorption, hydrophobic effects, agglomeration and disagglomeration. Adsorption of SDS on oppositely charged TiO2 nanoparticles is found to strongly modify their stability. Formation of large agglomerates can be obtained via several routes: i) in absence of SDS and by adjusting the pH close to the TiO2 point of zero charge ii) in presence of SDS at a concentration where the positive surface charges of the TiO2 nanoparticles are counterbalanced by the SDS negative charges (charge neutralization). It is also found that hydrophobic interaction mechanisms between the SDS molecules can also promote the formation of large structures. Influence of pH variations on TiO2-SDS electrostatic complexes, formed at low pH, indicates that an excess of SDS is required to prevent the formation of large agglomerates upon pH changes. At low or intermediate SDS concentrations, TiO2 stability is governed by the subtle interplay of SDS adsorption and TiO2 surface charge acid base properties. The presence of divalent electrolyte (water hardness) is found to reduce the SDS amount adsorbed on TiO2 ENPs and to promote the formation of large micron-sized agglomerates by cation bridging. Our results also indicate that dispersion preparation protocol is an important issue to consider when ENPs and SDS mixtures have to be prepared and that for the formation of “individually” coated and stable nanoparticles, punctual addition of SDS is required at concentrations higher than the isoelectric point
Keywords TiO2 nanoparticlesSodium dodecyl sulfateAgglomerationDisagglomerationSurfactant-nanoparticle complexes
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Research group Environmental Physical Chemistry
Projects FNS: 200020_152847 and 200021_135240
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LOOSLI, Frédéric, STOLL, Serge. Effect of surfactants, pH and water hardness on the surface properties and agglomeration behavior of engineered TiO2 nanoparticles. In: Environmental Science: Nano, 2017, vol. 4, n° 1, p. 203-211. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:90521

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Deposited on : 2016-12-19

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