Nanoparticles approach and collide with (comparatively) larger immobile surfaces via diffusion, interception (in the context of advection) or sedimentation. Upon collision, the particles will stick - or attach - to the exposed surface with a probability expressed by the attachment efficiency (α). Attachment is an important process limiting the transport kinetics of nanomaterials.

Attachment of ENMs onto an immobile surface is a process similar to hetero- or homoaggregation. However, in those processes both the ENMs and interacting species are (and will remain) mobile, whereas attachment signifies that ENMs go from the mobile phase into an immobile species.

Occurs in



Water and sediment

Fate descriptors



\(\LARGE k_{att}=\alpha \frac{3(1- \theta ) \nu }{2d_{c}}\eta_{0}\)

Attachment efficiency Attachment rate calculation

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Visit the NanoFASE Library to read summaries of these reports:

NanoFASE Report D7.2 Soil property – NM fate relationships


Petrosa A R, et al. (2010) Aggregation and Deposition of Engineered Nanomaterials in Aquatic Environments: Role of Physicochemical Interactions. Environmental Science & Technology. 44: 6532-6549.



Karin Norrfors

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)






Geert Cornelis

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)