Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 31, pp 31240–31249 | Cite as

Aggregation, sedimentation, and dissolution of CuO and ZnO nanoparticles in five waters

  • Zhilin Liu
  • Chao Wang
  • Jun HouEmail author
  • Peifang Wang
  • Lingzhan MiaoEmail author
  • Bowen Lv
  • Yangyang Yang
  • Guoxiang You
  • Yi Xu
  • Mingzhi Zhang
  • Hanlin Ci
Research Article


With the accelerated application of copper oxide (CuO) and zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles (NPs) in commercial products, concerns about the potential impacts on the environment have been growing. Environmental behaviors of NPs are expected to significantly influence their fate and ecological risk in the aquatic environment. In this study, the environmental behaviors of two metallic NPs (CuO and ZnO NPs), including aggregation, sedimentation, and dissolution, were systematically evaluated in five representative waters (pool water, lake water, rainwater, tap water, and wastewater) with varying properties. Remarkable aggregation, sedimentation, and dissolution were observed for both metallic NPs, among which ZnO NPs exhibited greater influence. CuO (ZnO) NPs aggregated to 400 (500) nm, 500 (900) nm, and 800 (1500) nm in lake water, wastewater, and tap water, respectively. The sedimentation rates of CuO and ZnO NPs in the five waters were ranked as tap water > wastewater > lake water > pool water > rainwater. The dissolution of CuO and ZnO NPs in waters follows a first-order reaction rate model and is affected by ionic type, ionic strength (IS), and NOM (natural organic matter) concentrations. Redundancy analysis (RDA) indicated that the aggregation and sedimentation of NPs have a strong correlation, insofar as the sedimentation rates increase with increasing aggregation rates. The aggregation and dissolution of NPs have a negative correlation, insofar as the dissolution rates reduce with increasing aggregation rates. The aggregation, sedimentation, and dissolution of NPs can be influenced by ionic types, IS, and TOC in waters, among which, TOC may the dominant factor.


CuO NPs ZnO NPs Aggregation Sedimentation Dissolution 


Funding information

We are grateful for the grants from the project supported by the National Natural Science Funds for Creative Research Groups of China (No. 51421006), the National Natural Science Funds for Excellent Young Scholar (No. 51722902), the Outstanding Youth Fund of Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu, China (BK20160038), the Key Program of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 91647206), the National Key Project of Research and Development Plan of China (2016YFC0401709), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No. 2017B01614), and Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (PAPD).

Supplementary material

11356_2018_3123_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.4 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 1461 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Integrated Regulation and Resources Development on Shallow Lakes, Ministry of EducationHohai UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.College of EnvironmentHohai UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China

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