Fate of Nanoparticles during Alum and Ferric Coagulation Monitored using Single Particle ICP-MS


In this study, aluminum sulfate, ferric sulfate, ferric chloride, and poly(diallyldimethylammonium chloride) (pDADMAC) coagulation removal of citrate-stabilized silver and gold nanoparticles (NPs) and uncoated titanium dioxide, cerium dioxide, and zinc oxide NPs was investigated using a single particle (SP) ICP-MS direct monitoring technique. Zone 2 (charge neutralization) coagulation was performed in river water and more commonly used Zone 4 (sweep floc) coagulation was performed in both river and lake water with environmentally relevant concentrations of selected NPs added. SP-ICP-MS was used to detect NP and dissolved species, characterize the size distribution, and quantify particle concentration as well as dissolved species before and after treatments. Other parameters including pH, dissolved organic carbon, turbidity, and UV254 absorbance were monitored to characterize treatment efficiency. Charge neutralization (Zone 2) coagulation resulted in 48-85% removal of citrate-stabilized NPs and 90-99% removal of uncoated NPs from river water. Sweep floc (Zone 4) coagulation in river water resulted in 36-94% removal of citrate-stabilized NPs and 91-99% removal of uncoated NPs both with and without polymer addition. Zone 4 coagulation conditions in lake water resulted in 77-98% removal of citrate-stabilized NPs and 59-96% removal of uncoated NPs without polymer. These results indicate that NP removal depends on NP surface and stability, the nature of the source water, and the coagulant type and approach.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Second Department


Keywords and Phrases

Cerium dioxide; Nanoparticle fate during water treatment; Silver nanoparticle; Single particle-ICP-MS; Water treatment by coagulation; Zinc oxide

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Document Type

Article - Journal

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© 2018 Elsevier Ltd, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Mar 2018

PubMed ID