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    This study conducted saturated column experiments to systematically investigate deposition of 1 μm positively charged polystyrene latex micro-colloids (representing microplastic particles) on negatively charged rough sand, glass beads, and soil with pore water velocities (PWV) from 4.9 × 10-5 to 8.8 × 10-4 m/s. A critical value of PWV was found below which colloidal attachment efficiency (AE) increased with increasing PWV. The increase in AE with PWV was attributed to enhanced delivery of the colloids and subsequent attachment at concave locations of rough collector surfaces. The AE decreased with further increasing PWV beyond the threshold because the convex sites became unavailable for colloid attachment. By simulating the rough surfaces using the Weierstrass-Mandelbrot equation, the extended Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek (XDLVO) interaction energy calculations and torque analysis revealed that the adhesive torques could be reduced to be comparable or smaller than hydrodynamic torques even under the favorable conditions. Interestingly, scanning electron microscopic experiments showed that blocking occurred at convex sites at all ionic strengths (ISs) (e.g., even when the colloid-colloid interaction was attractive), whereas at concave sites, blocking and ripening (i.e., attached colloids favor subsequent attachment) occurred at low and high ISs, respectively. To our knowledge, our work was the first to show coexistence of blocking and ripening at high ISs due to variation of the collector surface morphology.


    Tiantian Li, Chongyang Shen, William P Johnson, Huilian Ma, Chao Jin, Chenxi Zhang, Xianxian Chu, Ke Ma, Baoshan Xing. Important Role of Concave Surfaces in Deposition of Colloids under Favorable Conditions as Revealed by Microscale Visualization. Environmental science & technology. 2022 Apr 05;56(7):4121-4131

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    PMID: 35312300

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