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Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 11, pp 10956–10965 | Cite as

Aqueous aggregation and stability of graphene nanoplatelets, graphene oxide, and reduced graphene oxide in simulated natural environmental conditions: complex roles of surface and solution chemistry

  • Nan Ye
  • Zhuang Wang
  • Se Wang
  • Hao Fang
  • Degao Wang
Research Article
  • 291 Downloads

Abstract

Graphene-family nanomaterials (GFNs) exhibit universal applications and consequently will inevitably enter aquatic systems. However, both the fate and behavior of GFNs in aquatic environments have not been completely explored at field relevant conditions. Herein, we have systematically investigated the aqueous aggregation and stability of graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs), graphene oxide (GO), and reduced graphene oxide (RGO) under varied solution chemistry parameters (pH, divalent cations, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC)) during 21 days of incubation in simulated natural environmental conditions. Results indicate that pH values from 6 to 9 had a notable impact on the aqueous behaviors of the three GFNs. Divalent cations (Ca2+ and Mg2+) at the concentrations of 2.5 and 10 mM remarkably increased the extent of aggregation of the three GFNs and resulted in severe sedimentation, independently of surface chemical functionalization. The presence of only DOC ranging from 0.5 to 2 mg C/L significantly elevated the dispersion stability of GNPs and RGO in a dose-dependent manner, whereas no effects were observed on GO. Furthermore, DOC at the studied concentrations and surface functionality were insufficient to counterbalance the impact of the divalent cations. Direct visual and in situ observations further supported the conclusions on the effects of divalent cations or/and DOC. These findings further underline that the environmental behaviors of GFNs are controlled by the complex interplay between water chemistry parameters and GFN surface properties.

Keywords

Graphene-family nanomaterials Surface chemistry Water chemistry Physicochemical property Aggregation Stability 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Funding for this work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21407080 and 41601519) and the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province (BK20150891 and BK20140987). We also thank the anonymous reviewers for helping to improve the manuscript.

Supplementary material

11356_2018_1326_MOESM1_ESM.doc (2.3 mb)
ESM 1 (DOC 2351 kb)

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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Collaborative Innovation Center of Atmospheric Environment and Equipment TechnologyNanjing University of Information Science and TechnologyNanjingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.School of Environmental Science and TechnologyDalian Maritime UniversityDalianPeople’s Republic of China

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