Single Particle ICP-MS Characterization of Titanium Dioxide, Silver, and Gold Nanoparticles during Drinking Water Treatment


One of the most direct means for human exposure to nanoparticles (NPs) released into the environment is drinking water. Therefore, it is critical to understand the occurrence and fate of NPs in drinking water systems. The objectives of this study were to develop rapid and reliable analytical methods and apply them to investigate the fate and transportation of NPs during drinking water treatments. Rapid single particle ICP-MS (SP-ICP-MS) methods were developed to characterize and quantify titanium-containing, titanium dioxide, silver, and gold NP concentration, size, size distribution, and dissolved metal element concentration in surface water and treated drinking water. The effectiveness of conventional drinking water treatments (including lime softening, alum coagulation, filtration, and disinfection) to remove NPs from surface water was evaluated using six-gang stirrer jar test simulations. The selected NPs were nearly completely (97 ± 3%) removed after lime softening and alum coagulation/activated carbon adsorption treatments. Additionally, source and drinking waters from three large drinking water treatment facilities utilizing similar treatments with the simulation test were collected and analyzed by the SP-ICP-MS methods. Ti-containing particles and dissolved Ti were present in the river water samples, but Ag and Au were not present. Treatments used at each drinking water treatment facility effectively removed over 93% of the Ti-containing particles and dissolved Ti from the source water.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Second Department


Keywords and Phrases

Carbon; Coagulation; Dissolution; Gold; Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry; Lime; Mass Spectrometers; Nanoparticles; Oxides; Potable Water; Silver; Surface Waters; Titanium; Titanium Dioxide; Water; Water Filtration; Water Treatment; Analytical Method; Drinking Water Systems; Gold Nanoparticles; Nanoparticle (NPs); Nanoparticle Removals; River Water Samples; Single Particle; Titanium Containing; Chemical Water Treatment; Activated Carbon; Aluminum Potassium Sulfate; Drinking Water; Gold Nanoparticle; River Water; Silver Nanoparticle; Surface Water; Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticle; Well Water, Adsorption; Article; Disinfection; Filtration; Turbidity; Water Analysis; Water Quality; Water Sampling; Water Treatment

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Article - Journal

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© 2016 Elsevier Ltd, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Feb 2016