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Biochar has attracted much attention for remediating the sites contaminated with heavy metals and radionuclides due to its low cost and high adsorption affinity. However, little is known about how colloidal biochar influences U(VI) transport in the environment. In this study, column experiments were conducted to investigate the individual and co-transport of U(VI) and biochar colloids (BC) in quartz sand heterogeneous media. Results showed that the transport of U(VI) in the individual transport system was pH-dependent and insensitive to ionic strength, whereas the individual BC transport was more sensitive to the changes in ionic strength compared to those in pH, indicating that electrostatic interaction plays a major role during BC transport but chemical interaction dominates U(VI) transport. In the presence of BC, the transport of U(VI) was significantly facilitated because of U(VI) adsorption on BC. The existence of low concentration of U(VI) (2.5 × 10-6 M), however, did not affect the breakthrough curves (BTCs) of BC, except for the co-transport at relatively high ionic strength (100 mM) where BC transport was impeded due to the decrease of colloid suspension stability. Colloid size exclusion effect was evidenced by the evolution of particle size and zeta potential of the effluents. The transport of BC in both the individual and co-transport systems could be described by a two-site kinetic attachment/detachment model. This work implies that a risk assessment of BC facilitated heavy metal transport should be carefully considered when biochar is applied to the remediation of heavy metal contaminated sites. Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier B.V.


Yufeng Sun, Zhen Zhang, Jiaxi Heng, Chao Gao, Qiang Jin, Zongyuan Chen, Zhijun Guo. Co-transport of U(VI) and colloidal biochar in quartz sand heterogeneous media. The Science of the total environment. 2022 Apr 10;816:151606

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PMID: 34774950

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