Effects of Surfactant and Electrolyte Concentrations, Cation Valence, and Temperature on Graphene Oxide Retention and Transport in Saturated Porous Media

  • Mei Wang
  • Congrong YuEmail author
  • Deshan Tang
  • Jianjun Chen
  • Bin GaoEmail author


Environmental fate and impacts of graphene oxide (GO) nanoparticles are strongly influenced by their subsurface behaviors. The present work examined the aggregation and transport behaviors of GO in saturated sand columns under different temperature (6 and 24 °C), surfactant concentration (0.04% and 0.4%), cation valence, and electrolyte concentration conditions. In monovalent electrolyte (NaCl), although the presence of cationic surfactant (CTAB) notably increased GO stability and mobility, GO ripening happened due to their concurrent aggregation and transport in the columns. GO particles were more mobile at a lower temperature probably because the CTAB coating of GO increased with decreasing temperature, leading to stronger electrostatic repulsion. Furthermore, GO retention in the media increased with the increase of NaCl concentration due to the enhanced compression of the electric double layer. In multivalent electrolyte (CaCl2 or AlCl3), the presence of CTAB greatly improved GO stability and mobility and no deposition occurred in saturated porous media under all the tested conditions. This is because the CTAB coating of GO diminished the cation bridging effects in both GO-GO and GO-sand systems. Results from extended Derjaguin–Landau–Verwey–Overbeek (XDLVO) theory considering steric repulsion suggest that secondary minimum aggregation and depositions were the main mechanisms of GO retention transport in monovalent electrolyte in saturated porous media.


Graphene oxide Aggregation Deposition Temperature Surfactant Cation valence 


Funding Information

This work was partially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51509069), the Special Fund of State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering (No. 2017490811), China Postdoctoral Science Foundation, and China Scholarship Council (CSC).

Supplementary material

11270_2018_4076_MOESM1_ESM.docx (568 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 567 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Water Conservancy and EnvironmentZhengzhou UniversityZhengzhouChina
  2. 2.State Key Lab of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic EngineeringNanjingChina
  3. 3.College of Hydrology and Water Conservancy and Water ResourcesHohai UniversityNanjingChina
  4. 4.College of Water Conservancy and Hydropower EngineeringHohai UniversityNanjingChina
  5. 5.Mid-Florida Research & Education CenterUniversity of FloridaApopkaUSA
  6. 6.Department of Agricultural and Biological EngineeringUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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