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Environmental science & technology

Kinetics and mechanisms of nanosilver oxysulfidation.


PMID 21770469

Abstract

Among the many new engineered nanomaterials, nanosilver is one of the highest priority cases for environmental risk assessment. Recent analysis of field samples from water treatment facilities suggests that silver is converted to silver sulfide, whose very low solubility may limit the bioavailability and adverse impact of silver in the environment. The present study demonstrates that silver nanoparticles react with dissolved sulfide species (H(2)S, HS(-)) under relevant but controlled laboratory conditions to produce silver sulfide nanostructures similar to those observed in the field. The reaction is tracked by time-resolved sulfide depletion measurements to yield quantitative reaction rates and stoichiometries. The reaction requires dissolved oxygen, and it is sensitive to pH and natural organic matter. Focused-ion-beam analysis of surface films reveals an irregular coarse-grained sulfide phase that allows deep (>1 μm) conversion of silver surfaces without passivation. At high sulfide concentrations, nanosilver oxysulfidation occurs by a direct particle-fluid reaction. At low sulfide concentration, quantitative kinetic analysis suggests a mechanistic switch to an oxidative dissolution/precipitation mechanism, in which the biologically active Ag(+) ion is generated as an intermediate. The environmental transformation pathways for nanosilver will vary depending on the media-specific competing rates of oxidative dissolution and direct oxysulfidation.

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241474
Silver sulfide, 99.9% trace metals basis
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