Colloidal and bacterial deposition: role of gravity.

Research paper by Gexin G Chen, Yongsuk Y Hong, Sharon L SL Walker

Indexed on: 17 Nov '09Published on: 17 Nov '09Published in: Langmuir


The role of gravitational force on the deposition of 0.5, 1.1, and 1.8 mum carboxylate-modified polystyrene latex (CML) microspheres and bacterium Burkholderia cepacia G4g has been evaluated using a parallel plate flow chamber system. This experimental system utilized an inverted and an upright optical microscope attached with image-capturing devices to directly observe and determine the deposition kinetics onto glass surfaces located at the top and bottom of the flow chamber. Deposition kinetics was quantified at 10 mM KCl under electrostatically unfavorable and favorable attachment conditions and at two flow rates (0.06 and 3 mL/min), simulating the range of flow velocities from groundwater to rapid granular filtration. Comparing the particle deposition kinetics on the top and bottom surfaces under identical flowing exposure time, fluid chemistries, and hydrodynamic conditions, results showed that significant differences were observed between the two surfaces, suggesting that gravity was a significant driving force for the initial stages of deposition of particles that were larger than 1 mum size. Simulation results utilizing a particle trajectory model confirmed these experimental observations. This was further supported by additional deposition experiments with 1.1 mum microspheres suspended in a deuterium oxide (D(2)O)/water mixture (heavy water) where the density of colloid and the suspending heavy water were effectively the same. Under this condition, deposition rates were observed to be identical between the top and bottom surfaces. Results from normal and heavy water solutions indicated that the greater deposition of colloidal particles larger than 1 mum on the bottom in normal water solutions is due to gravity. Finally, the experimental results were compared with deposition studies using smaller 0.5 mum colloids as well as some theoretical calculations of expected rates of particle deposition.