Jun. 2021: Professor Wen Zhang was invited to report for RCR seminar about seeking sustainable pathways for spend lithium-ion batteries.

Explore the Nano World 

Aug. 2021: Dr. Wen Zhang’s team membersjoined the ACS Fall 2021 in Atlanta and presented their research.  

Jul. 2021: Dr. Zhang’s group membersparticipated the first 2021 virtual CAPEES e-poster competition on July 17, 2021.Dr. Weihua Qingwon the best poster award. 

 Wen's Research Group​

Wen Zhang

Principal Investigator
Associate Professor

Phone: (973) 596-5520 
Fax: (973) 596-5790
Email: wen.zhang@njit.edu

Office Location: Colton Hall 211

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    Researchers from New Jersey Institute of Technology, Tongji University and Beijing Normal University found that microplastics in natural waters affect the environmental fate of hydrophobic organic micropollutants. This study evaluated the impacts of four microplastics, polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), polystyrene (PS) and polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), on the photodegradation of organotin compounds (OTCs) under UV365 irradiation (2.3 ± 0.1 W·m-2). The experiments were performed by mixing PP, PE, PS or PMMA microparticles with tri-organotins in artificial seawater. The photodegradation of OTCs in microplastic suspensions was influenced by the absorptivity onto microplastics. The decomposition rate of tributyltin (TBT) in UV-irradiated PP suspensions was greater than trimethyltin (TMT) and triphenyltin (TPhT) (p < 0.01). The adsorption capacities of OTCs (e.g., TBT) on PP particle surfaces were significantly lower than those on PE surfaces (p < 0.05) but similar with those on PMMA due to the different surface areas, shapes, and surface hydrophobicity of microplastics. TBT degraded slower (9.1%) in PS than in PMMA suspension (11.2%) within 240 min, respectively. However, only less than 5.4% was photodegraded in PP suspension due to the light scattering or absorption of the large sized PP particles. This study provided new insight into the impacts of microplastics on photodegradation of micropollutants in natural waters.   

Chunzhao Chen, a visiting student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at New Jersey Institute of technology (NJIT), conducted this research under Wen Zhang’s supervision and published the results in the journal Environmental Pollution. This paper reported the impacts of organotin (a group of legacy water pollutants)-microplastics interactions on their environmental fate under funding support from the New Jersey Water Resources Research Institute (NJWRRI). The authors thank the China Scholarship Council for the financial support and thank the support from Prof. Francisco Artigas and Ying Yao in the Meadowlands Environmental Research Institute for the facility use and technical advice. 


Adsorption of water pollutants on microplastics slows down their photodegradation.