Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Engineering Science


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Denis M. O’Carroll


Nanotechnology has become the focus of intense interest and excitement over the last 20 years. The unique physical, chemical, and electronical properties of nanomaterials make them one of the most promising novel classes of materials with many potential applications. However, these materials will ultimately reach the subsurface environment possibly as reactants for insitu site remediation or as leachate from landfill sites. Therefore, understanding the mobility of engineered nanomaterials in porous media is very important. Engineered multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) are an important class of nanomaterials from an environmental perspective as they have application in water purification and also have an associated environmental risk. This study is conducted to explore the mobility of MWCNTs in porous media. The results will help further understand the mechanisms that control MWCNT migration in the subsurface, thus permitting the development of appropriate disposal regulations. Results from the 1D column experiments, conducted under a variety of physical/chemical conditions, are used to assess the ability of existing models to predict carbon nanotube transport in porous media systems. This study shows that the mobility of MWCNTs is significantly different under natural and engineered subsurface conditions. Finally, the surface element integration method is used to investigate the interaction energy between the MWCNTs and the grain collectors on the basis of the classic Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek theory. These results suggest the surface element integration method requires further modification for the systems studied here.



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