Environmental impact assessment of nanofluids containing mixtures of surfactants and silica nanoparticles
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AuthorLechuga Villena, Manuela María; Fernández Serrano, Mercedes; Ríos Ruiz, Francisco; Fernández Arteaga, Alejandro; Jiménez Robles, Ramón
Lechuga, M., Fernández-Serrano, M., Ríos, F. et al. Environmental impact assessment of nanofluids containing mixtures of surfactants and silica nanoparticles. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-022-21598-9
Due to widespread use of nanoparticles in surfactant-based formulations, their release into the environment and wastewater is unavoidable and toxic for biota and/or wastewater treatment processes. Because of concerns over the environmental impacts of nanofuids, studies of the fate and environmental impacts, hazards, and toxicities of nanoparticles are beginning. However, interactions between nanoparticles and surfactants and the biodegradability of these mixtures have been little studied until now. In this work, the environmental impacts of nanofuids containing mixtures of surfactants and silica nanoparticles were valuated. The systems studied were hydrophilic silica nanoparticles (sizes 7 and 12 nm), a nonionic surfactant (alkyl polyglucoside), an anionic surfactant (ether carboxylic acid), and mixtures of them. The ultimate aerobic biodegradation and the interfacial and adsorption properties of surfactants, nanoparticles, and mixtures during biodegradation were also evaluated. Ultimate biodegradation was studied below and above the CMCs of the individual surfactants. The interfacial and adsorption properties of surfactant solutions containing nanoparticles were infuenced by the addition of silica particles. It was determined that silica nanoparticles reduced the capability of the nonionic surfactant alkyl polyglucoside to decrease the surface tension. Thus, silica NPs promoted a considerable increase in the surfactant CMC, whereas the efect was opposite in the case of the anionic surfactant ether carboxylic acid. Increasing concentrations of surfactant and nanoparticles in the test medium caused decreases in the maximum levels of mineralization reached for both types of surfactants. The presence of silica nanoparticles in the medium reduced the biodegradability of binary mixtures containing nonionic and anionic surfactants, and this efect was more pronounced for larger nanoparticles. These results could be useful in modelling the behaviour of nanofuids in aquatic environments and in selecting appropriate nanofuids containing nanoparticles and surfactants with low environmental impact.