Exploring controls on the fate of PVP-capped silver nanoparticles in primary wastewater treatment

Stephen M. King*, Helen P. Jarvie, Michael J. Bowes, Emma Gozzard, Alan J. Lawlor, M. Jayne Lawrence

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Small-angle neutron scattering has been used to examine the settling behaviour of partially-passivated silver nanoparticles (AgNP), capped with a polyvinylpyrolidone (PVP) stabiliser, in water and domestic wastewater, in a primary clarification 'microcosm' as a function of time. The impact of two flocculants routinely used in the wastewater treatment process has also been studied. The settling velocity is found to be time-dependent, but always exceeds 100 mm h-1 during the first hour at the point of input. Particle removal by settling is almost three times greater in wastewater than it is in pure water. The results are rationalised in terms of a generic, but synergistic, interaction between non-ionic capping agents and anionic components of wastewater, and we show how this may afford an explanation for some of the diversity of behaviour previously reported in studies of several different NPs in wastewater treatment. We conclude that AgNPs entering primary clarification with non-ionic surface coatings, whether present by design or environmental transformation, pose no threat to the viability of the biofilms in secondary wastewater treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-190
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental Science: Nano
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015


Dive into the research topics of 'Exploring controls on the fate of PVP-capped silver nanoparticles in primary wastewater treatment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this