Date of Thesis

8-19-2013

Thesis Type

Masters Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)

Degree Type

Master of Science

Department

Chemistry

First Advisor

Molly McGuire

Abstract

The recent increase in the amount of nanoparticles incorporated into commercial products is accompanied by a rising concern of the fate of these nanoparticles. Once released into the environment, it is inevitable that the nanoparticles will come into contact with the soil, introducing them to various routes of environmental contamination. One route that was explored in this research was the interaction between nanoparticles and clay minerals. In order to better define the interactions between clay minerals and positively charged nanoparticles, in situ atomic force microscopy (AFM) was utilized. In situ AFM experiments allowed interactions between clay minerals and positively charged nanoparticles to be observed in real time. The preliminary results demonstrated that in situ AFM was a reliable technique for studying the interactions between clay minerals and positively charged nanoparticles and showed that the nanoparticles affected the swelling (height) of the clay quasi-crystals upon exposure. The preliminary AFM data were complemented by batch study experiments which measured the absorbance of the nanoparticle filtrate after introduction to clay minerals in an effort to better determine the mobility of the positively charged nanoparticles in an environment with significant clay contribution. The results of the batch study indicated that the interactions between clay minerals and positively charged nanoparticles were size dependent and that the interactions of the different size nanoparticles with the clay may be occurring to different degrees. The degree to which the different size nanoparticles were interacting with the clay was further probed using FTIR (Fourier transform infrared) spectroscopy experiments. The results of these experiments showed that interactions between clay minerals and positively charged nanoparticles were size dependent as indicated by a change in the FTIR spectra of the nanoparticles upon introduction to clay.

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