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Optimisation of iron oxide nanoparticles for agglomeration and blockage in aqueous flow systems

Landowski, LM ORCID: 0000-0001-6195-8536, Livesey, KL, Bibari, O, Russell, AM, Taylor, MR, Ho, CC ORCID: 0000-0002-7555-0635, Howells, DW ORCID: 0000-0002-2512-7724 and Fuller, RO ORCID: 0000-0003-3926-8680 2021 , 'Optimisation of iron oxide nanoparticles for agglomeration and blockage in aqueous flow systems' , Australian Journal of Chemistry , A-I , doi: 10.1071/CH21061.

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The translation of nanoparticles to useful applications is often hindered by the reliability of synthetic methodologies to reproducibly generate larger particles of uniform size (diameter > 20 nm). The inability to precisely control nanoparticle crystallinity, size, and shape has significant implications on observed properties and therefore applications. A series of iron oxide particles have been synthesised and the impact of size as they agglomerate in aqueous media undergoing flow through a capillary tube has been studied. Reaction conditions for the production of large (side length > 40 nm) cubic magnetite (Fe3O4) have been optimised to produce particles with different diameters up to 150 nm. We have focussed on reproducibility in synthesis rather than dispersity of the size distribution. A simple oxidative cleavage of the as-synthesised particles surfactant coating transforms the hydrophobic oleic acid coated Fe3O4 to a hydrophilic system based on azelaic acid. The hydrophilic coating can be further functionalised, in this case we have used a simple biocompatible polyethylene glycol (PEG) coating. The ability of particles to either chain, flow, and fully/or partially aggregate in aqueous media has been tested in a simple in-house system made from commercial components. Fe3O4 nanoparticles (60–85 nm) with a simple PEG coating were found to freely flow at a 2 mm distance from a magnet over 3 min at a rate of 1 mL min−1. Larger particles with side lengths of ~150 nm, or those without a PEG coating were not able to fully block the tube. Simple calculations have been performed to support these observations of magnetic agglomeration.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Landowski, LM and Livesey, KL and Bibari, O and Russell, AM and Taylor, MR and Ho, CC and Howells, DW and Fuller, RO
Keywords: nanoparticles, nanotechnology, magnets, magnetic, cubic nanoparticles, iron oxide, maghemite
Journal or Publication Title: Australian Journal of Chemistry
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
ISSN: 0004-9425
DOI / ID Number: 10.1071/CH21061
Copyright Information:

Journal compilation copyright CSIRO 2021

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