Ryckman Lecture Series 2011
Whittaker Hall, Room 100
March 31, 2011
Dr. Linda Abriola, Dean
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Subsurface Transport of Nanomaterials: Environmental Threat or Opportunity?
In the United States, Federal funding for nanotechnology increased from approximately $464 million in 2001 to nearly $1.5 billion in fiscal year 2009, with private industry investing at a similar level. The rapid growth of nanotechnology has created tremendous opportunities for the development of improved manufacturing processes, new consumer products, and revolutionary medical treatments and technologies. In the environmental sector, application of nanotechnology is leading to innovative in situ environmental characterization and remediation tools. As the manufacture and use of nanomaterials increases, however, these materials are also posing potentially serious threats to our water resources. Both the design of new environmental tools and the assessment of environmental impacts will require a deep understanding of the processes influencing the transport and fate of nanoparticles. This presentation provides an overview of ongoing collaborative research designed to advance our understanding of nanoparticle migration and retention in natural unconsolidated media. Examples are drawn from a range of experimental systems, encompassing a variety of carbon and metal-based engineered nanomaterials commonly used in consumer products and subsurface environmental applications. These nanomaterials include fullerene aggregates, nano-scale zero-valent iron, quantum dots, and silver nanoparticles. Results of batch and column experiments are used to illustrate the influence of porous medium texture, composition, flow rate, and solution chemistry on nanoparticle transport and retention. Various conceptual models, originally formulated for the description of solute, colloid, or micro-scale particle transport, are explored for their ability to capture observed nanoparticle behavior. Numerical simulations are used to illustrate the implications of research findings on nanoparticle migration and fate in field-scale scenarios. Prediction challenges and areas for future investigation are highlighted.
Linda M. Abriola is the Dean of the School of Engineering. She also holds a position as Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Adjunct Professor in Chemical and Biological Engineering. Dean Abriola is a member of both the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) and is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. Prior to her appointment at Tufts, Dean Abriola was the Horace Williams King Collegiate Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan.
Dean Abriola received her Ph.D. and master's degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Princeton University and a Bachelor's Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Drexel University.