Stability and flocculation of nanosilica by conventional organic polymer


More than 2,000,000 tons of silica nanoparticles (NPs) are produced annually in the world to cover the needs of nanotechnologies. Inevitably, a quantity of NPs, will be in industrial discharges and domestic, or even in water resources. Share their high surface reactivity, these NPs may also carry with them through a specific adsorption of other toxic chemical pollutants inherent to the industrial sectors. To preserve public health and the environment from this pollution, it is necessary to remedy the potential pollution. In this context, the main motivation of this work is to answer this environmental issue by proposing a scheme of remediation based on the use of a conventional treatment process. The process of elimination nanoparticles by coagulation/flocculation was selected for its simplicity and also for its universal use. The NPs of industrial silica S30R50 were used as support to develop the process. The optimization of coagulation/flocculation, was greatly facilitated by the use of laser diffraction online. This technique allowed to follow the dynamic character of the treatment and to determine the size and the most relevant textural parameters (density, porosity and fractal dimension) of the flocs depending on the nature of the used reagents. The critical concentrations of different coagulants and flocculants used were determined by electrophoresis and turbidity. The ratio of their charge density/molecular weight has conditioned the quality of separation, the floc size and their texture. Excellent coagulation/flocculation performances are reached using organic reagents authorized by the Directorate General for Health of several countries. After optimization of the process, the size distributions are between 10 μm and 1 mm, with fractal dimensions (compactness) ranging from 2.3 to 2.5. The performances obtained show that the use of cationic polymers is a promising potential route to treat other types of NPs. The treatment proposed to reach a ratio of average diameters dFloc/dNP of 3500, and therefore it facilitates the elimination of these NPs agglomerated by filtration.

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Bizi, M. (2012) Stability and flocculation of nanosilica by conventional organic polymer. Natural Science, 4, 372-385. doi: 10.4236/ns.2012.46052.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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