Date of Award

Spring 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry - (Ph.D.)


Chemistry and Environmental Science

First Advisor

S. Mitra

Second Advisor

Carol A. Venanzi

Third Advisor

Edgardo Tabion Farinas

Fourth Advisor

Haidong Huang

Fifth Advisor

Pradyot Patnaik


Nanotechnology is a rapidly growing industry that is exploiting the novel characteristics of materials manufactured at the nanoscale. Carbon based nanomaterials such as Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs) and Detonation Nanodiamond (DND) possess unique properties and find a wide range of industrial applications. With the advent of mass production of such materials, there is a possibility of contamination of water resources. Depending on the surface properties and structures, they might aggregate and settle down, or be dispersed and transported by the water. Therefore, there is a need to develop an understanding of the fate of such materials in aqueous media. The understanding and effect of solution chemistry is a key to predicting their deposition, transport, reactivity, and bioavailability in aquatic environments.

The colloidal behavior of organic dispersed CNTs and water dispersed DNDs is investigated. The aggregation behavior of these two colloidal systems is quite different from that of hydrophilic, water soluble functional ized CNTs (F-CNTs). The values of the Fuchs stability ratio or the critical coagulant concentration are determined experimentally using time-resolved dynamic light scattering and are used to predict the stability of such systems. It is found that the aggregation behavior of the organic dispersed, antisolvent precipitated system does not follow the conventional Derjaguin—Landau—Verwey—Overbeek (D LVO) theory. But they stabilize in the long term, which is attributed to the supersaturation generated by different solubility of a solute in the solvent/antisolvent. Based on particle size distribution, zeta potential as well as the aggregation kinetics, the water dispersed DNDs are found to be relatively stable in aqueous solutions, but aggregate rapidly in presence of mono and divalent salts. Also, the formation of carboxylic groups on the DND surface does not alter colloidal behavior as dramatically as it does for other nanocarbons especially carbon nanotubes.

Formation of colloidal dispersions via precipitation processes has been widely used in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. The synthesis of micro-particles for hydrophobic drugs is effectively carried out via anti-solvent precipitation method. The formation of small particles in the precipitation method is strongly influenced by colloidal interactions, and therefore, dependent on the properties of the particles and the liquid. The effect of solvent on the colloidal stability of the micro-drug particles is studied in detail. It is found that the organic solvent plays an important role on particle formation, polymorphism and stability of micron scale drug particles in aqueous media. Also, the supersaturation can be varied by using different solvents and the physicochemical characteristics of the suspension can be altered, which affects stability. Understanding of the colloidal stability and the aggregation kinetics has great importance not only for fundamental researches, but also for their applications.

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