American Chemical Society
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Multiwalled Carbon Nanotube Dispersion Methods Affect Their Aggregation, Deposition, and Biomarker Response

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journal contribution
posted on 2015-06-02, 00:00 authored by Xiaojun Chang, W. Matthew Henderson, Dermont C. Bouchard
To systematically evaluate how dispersion methods affect the environmental behaviors of multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs), MWNTs were dispersed in various solutions (e.g., surfactants, natural organic matter (NOM), and etc.) via ultrasonication (SON) and long-term stirring (LT). The two tested surfactants [anionic sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) and nonionic poly­(ethylene glycol)–poly­(propylene glycol)–poly­(ethylene glycol) (PEO–PPO–PEO) triblock copolymers (Pluronic)] could only disperse MWNTs via ultrasonication; while stable aqueous SON/MWNT and LT/MWNT suspensions were formed in the presence of the two model NOMs (Suwannee river humic acid and fulvic acid). Due to the inherent stochastic nature for both methods, the formed MWNT suspensions were highly heterogeneous. Their physicochemical properties, including surface charge, size, and morphology, greatly depended upon the dispersant type and concentration but were not very sensitive to the preparation methods. Aggregation and deposition behaviors of the dispersed MWNTs were controlled by van der Waal and electrostatic forces, as well as other non-DLVO forces (e.g., steric, hydrophobic forces, etc.). Unlike the preparation method-independent physicochemical properties, LT/NOM-MWNTs and SON/NOM-MWNTs differed in their fathead minnow epithelial cell metabolomics profiles.