Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering

Degree Level



Biological and Agricultural Engineering


Zhang, Wen

Committee Member/Reader

Osborn, Scott

Committee Member/Second Reader

Haggard, Brian


The use of nanoparticles (NPs) has increased exponentially in the last 15-20 years, especially in the consumer market. NPs are currently found in over 1800 commercial products, including cosmetics, clothing, packaging, and toys. As a result, NPs can enter the environment via wastewater (WW) streams, leading to new challenges in WW treatment. This study focuses on the initial fate of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) in WW. The AgNP interaction including aggregation and dissolution in both synthetic and real WW were studied. Real WW was collected from the primary-clarifier, secondary-clarifier, and effluent WW streams at two local WW treatment plants (Westside and Noland) in Fayetteville, AR. In all cases, AgNPs had high rates of aggregation with salts and solids in real and synthetic WW (80.3%-99.8%). Of the non-aggregated AgNPs, there was no statistical difference in the concentration of Ag that passed through the nano (0.1 µm) and ionic (3 kDa) filters, indicating that either the AgNPs were small enough to pass through the ionic filter (<27 Ag atoms), or most of the non-aggregated Ag was present as ionic species rather than NPs. This merits further research.


Silver, nanoparticles, wastewater, fate, aggregation