Nanoparticle aggregation: Principles and modeling

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The high surface area to volume ratio of nanoparticles usually results in highly reactive and colloidal instability compared to their bulk counterparts. Aggregation as well as many other transformations (e.g., dissolution) in the environment may alter the physiochemical properties, reactivity, fate, transport, and biological interactions (e.g., bioavailability and uptake) of nanoparticles. The unique properties pertinent to nanoparticles, such as shape, size, surface characteristics, composition, and electronic structures, greatly challenge the ability of colloid science to understand nanoparticle aggregation and its environmental impacts. This review briefly introduces fundamentals about aggregation, fractal dimensions, classic and extended Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeak (DLVO) theories, aggregation kinetic modeling, experimental measurements, followed by detailed discussions on the major factors on aggregation and subsequent effects on nanomaterial transport and reactivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-43
Number of pages24
JournalAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


  • Aggregation
  • Fractal
  • Heteroaggregation
  • Homoaggregation
  • Interaction energy
  • Nanoparticle
  • Size effect


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