Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Engineering Science


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Denis M. O’Carroll


Engineered Nanoparticles (ENPs) have generated significant public and scientific excitement due to their unique physical, chemical, and electrical properties which has led to their application in a wide variety of industries. Landfills are a likely disposal site for ENPs at the end of their useful life, either encapsulated in a product as discrete nanoparticles or in nanoparticle agglomerates. Most countries and jurisdictions have landfill design regulations to provide an effective impermeable barrier between a landfill and soil/groundwater, however, landfills are still of concern due to the potential threat to groundwater resources. This study assesses the fate of selected ENPs (multi-walled carbon nanotubes, single-walled carbon nanotubes, nC60, and Quantum dots) beneath a representative landfill using a two-dimensional finite element model that solves modified colloid filtration theory. Simulation conditions were representative of conditions present in landfill systems (e.g., porous media as fine as silt to clay and a natural groundwater flow). Findings suggest that site blocking function is an important factor governing ENP mobility. These findings suggest that properly designed and constructed landfills will be able to significantly limit ENP transport to the environment for extended periods of time (i.e., 100 years).