Nanomaterials in water present an array of identifiable potential hazards to ecological and human health. There is no general consensus about the influence of anionic or cationic charge on the toxicity of nanomaterials on environmental ecology. One challenge is the limited number of scalable technologies available for the removal of charged nanomaterials from water. A new method based on polymer coating has been developed in our laboratory for rapid sedimentation of nanomaterials in aqueous suspension. Using colloidal silica as a model inorganic oxide, coating of polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) around the SiO2 nanoparticles produced SiO2@PVP particles, as indicated by a linear increase of nephelometric turbidity. Purification of the water sample was afforded by total sedimentation of SiO2@PVP particles when left for 24 h. Characterization by capillary electrophoresis (CE) revealed nearly zero ionic charge on the particles. Further coating of polydopamine (PDA) around those particles in aqueous suspension produced an intense dark color due to the formation of SiO2@PVP@PDA. The SiO2@PVP@PDA peak appeared at a characteristic migration time of 4.2 min that allowed for quantitative CE-UV analysis to determine the original SiO2 concentration with enhanced sensitivity and without any ambiguous identity.

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Keywords capillary electrophoresis, coating, ionic charge, polydopamine, polypyrrolidone, nanomaterials, nanoparticles, sedimentation, silica
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Journal Coatings
Lai, E. P, Iqbal, Zafar, & Nour, Sherif. (2014). Polymerization of Vinylpyrrolidone to Form a Neutral Coating on Anionic Nanomaterials in Aqueous Suspension for Rapid Sedimentation. Coatings, 4(2), 340–355. doi:10.3390/coatings4020340