Automated Ultrafiltration Device for Environmental Nanoparticle Research and Implications: A Review
Received: 28 February 2013 / Revised: 16 May 2013 / Accepted: 17 May 2013 / Published: 3 June 2013
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Nanoparticle research and development have brought significant breakthroughs in many areas of basic and applied sciences. However, efficiently collecting nanoparticles in large quantities in pure and natural systems is a major challenge in nanoscience. This review article has focused on experimental investigation
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Nanoparticle research and development have brought significant breakthroughs in many areas of basic and applied sciences. However, efficiently collecting nanoparticles in large quantities in pure and natural systems is a major challenge in nanoscience. This review article has focused on experimental investigation and implications of nanoparticles in soil, clay, geological and environmental sciences. An automated ultrafiltration device (AUD) apparatus was used to demonstrate efficient collection and separation of nanoparticles in highly weathering red soils, black soils, and gouge of earthquake fault, as well as zeolite. The kaolinite, illite, goethite, and hematite were identified in highly weathering red soils. Transmission electron microscopic (TEM) images showed the presence of hematite nanoparticles on the surface coating of kaolinite nanoparticles and aggregated hematite nanoparticles overlapping the edge of a kaolinite flake in a size range from 4 to 7 nm. The maximum crystal violet (CV) and methylene blue (MB) adsorption amount of smectite nanoparticles (<100 nm) separated by black soils were about two to three times higher than those of bulk sample (<2000 nm). The smectite nanoparticles adsorb both CV and MB dyes efficiently and could be employed as a low-cost alternative to remove cationic dyes in wastewater treatment. Quartz grain of <50 nm was found in the gouge of fault by X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis and TEM observation. Separated quartz could be used as the index mineral associated with earthquake fracture and the finest grain size was around 25 nm. Comparing the various particle-size fractions of zeolite showed significant differences in surface area, Si to Al molar ratio, morphology, crystallinity, framework structure, and surface atomic structure of nanoparticles from those of the bulk sample prior to particle-size fractionations. The AUD apparatus has the characteristics of automation, easy operation, and high efficiency in the separation of nanoparticles and would, thus, facilitate future nanoparticle research and developments in basic and applied sciences.