Transport of iron nanoparticles through natural discrete fractures

Meirav Cohen, Noam Weisbrod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The transport of nano scale iron particles (NIP) in fractures is of concern for remediation of both fractured aquifers and porous aquifers when hydro-fracking and flow in preferential pathways takes place. In this study the transport of various NIP in a natural discrete fractured chalk core was investigated and their mass recoveries calculated. Four different types of NIP were tested and characterized in two ionic strength (IS) solutions at a particle concentration of 100–200 mg/l. The effect of IS, stability (sedimentation rate), particle size, solution viscosity and stabilizer were studied. NIP stability ranged from 1 to 100% following 120 min of stability tests and recoveries ranged from about 6 to 69%. The stabilizer type and concentration were shown to have significant role in NIP recoveries, especially at increased IS. It was evident that gravitational stability is the most crucial factor dominating transport of NIP. Accordingly, stability tests were shown to be a reliable indicator of NIP mobility. The high recoveries of some NIP tested, combined with the lack of clogging effect illustrates the enhanced mobility of NIP in fractures. The wide range of recoveries indicates NIP transport manipulation potential in such media. We therefore suggest that application of NIP in contaminated fractures has considerable potential as a remediation measure. In order to achieve NIP distribution in the aquifer while avoiding leakage to the environment, NIP stabilizer concentration should be adjusted according to the site-specific hydrogeochemical properties of the contaminated media.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-383
Number of pages9
JournalWater Research
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • Colloid transport
  • Fractured media
  • Groundwater remediation
  • Iron nanoparticles
  • nZVI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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