Wei Zhang Ph.D.

Wei Zhang

Telephone: 517-353-0471

Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences

Assistant Professor

Plant and Soil Sciences Building1066 Bogue St., Room A516East Lansing, MI 48824-1325

My research focuses on the movement of water, solutes, and particles in natural and engineered systems of emerging importance.


B.S., Nanjing University, Environmental Chemistry, 2000
M.S., Oklahoma State University, Biosystems Engineering, 2006
Ph.D., Cornell University, Environmental Engineering, 2010


General areas of expertise:

Hydrology, soil physics, colloidal and interfacial science, environmental nanotechnology, contaminant fate and transport.


Overview of current program:

The Soil and Water Research Lab at MSU is dedicated to fundamental and applied research that will help the society successfully safeguard and responsibly utilize soil and water resources. Current research activities are mainly focused on the movement of water, solutes, and particles in natural and engineered systems, particularly in the unsaturated soils (i.e., the vadose zone). The ultimate goal of the lab's research is to promote protection of soil and water resources and sustainable agricultural production through understanding of fundamental transport processes and scientifically-sound management practices.



Sang, W., V.L. Morales, W. Zhang, C.R. Stoof , B. Gao , A.L. Schatz, Y. Zhang, and T.S. Steenhuis. 2013. Quantification of colloid retention and release by straining and energy minima in variably saturated porous media. Environ. Sci. Technol. doi: 10.1021/es400288c. (in press).

Bouchard, D., W. Zhang, and X. Chang. 2013. A rapid screening technique for estimating nanoparticle transport in porous media. Water Res., 47(12), 4086-4094. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2012.10.026.

Wang, D., W. Zhang, and D.-M. Zhou. 2013. Antagonistic effects of humic acid and iron oxyhydroxide grain-coating on biochar nanoparticle transport in saturated sand. Environ. Sci. Technol., 47(10), 5154-5161. doi: 10.1021/es305337r.

Bradford, S.A., V.L. Morales, W. Zhang, R.W. Harvey, A.I. Packman, A. Mohanram, and C. Welty. 2013. Transport and fate of microbial pathogens in agricultural settings. Crit. Rev. Environ. Sci. Technol., 43(8), 775-893. doi:10.1080/10643389.2012.710449.

Morales, V.L., J.-Y. Parlange, M. Wu, F.J. Perez-Reche, W. Zhang, W. Sang, and T.S. Steenhuis. 2013. Surfactant-mediated control of colloid pattern assembly and attachment strength in evaporating droplets. Langmuir, 29(6), 1831-1840. doi: 10.1021/la304685b.

Zhang, W., U. Rattanaudompol, H. Li, and D. Bouchard. 2013. Effects of humic and fulvic acids on aggregation of aqu/nC60 nanoparticles. Water Res., 47(5), 1793-1802. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2012.12.037.

Wang, D., W. Zhang, X. Hao, and D.-M. Zhou. 2013. Transport of biochar particles in saturated granular media: Effects of pyrolysis temperature and particle size. Environ. Sci. Technol., 47(2), 821-828. doi: 10.1021/es303794d.

Bouchard, D., W. Zhang, T. Powell, and U. Rattanaudompol. 2012. Aggregation kinetics and transport of single-walled carbon nanotubes at low surfactant concentrations. Environ. Sci. Technol., 46(8), 4458-4465. doi: 10.1021/es204618v.

Zhang, W., C.W. Isaacson, U. Rattanaudompol, T.B. Powell, and D. Bouchard. 2012. Fullerene nanoparticles exhibit greater retention in freshwater sediment than in model porous media. Water Res., 46(9), 2992-3004. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2012.02.049.

Zevi, Y., B. Gao, W. Zhang, V.L. Morales, M.E. Cakmak, E.A. Medrano, W. Sang, and T.S. Steenhuis. 2012. Colloid retention at the meniscus-wall contact line in an open microchannel. Water Res., 46(2), 295-306. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2011.09.046.

Isaacson, C., W. Zhang, T. Powell, X. Ma, and D. Bouchard. 2011. Temporal changes in aqu/C60 physical-chemical, deposition, and transport characteristics in aqueous systems. Environ. Sci. Technol., 45 (12), 5170-5177. doi: 10.1021/es1041145.

Morales, V.L., W. Zhang, B. Gao, L.W. Lion, J.J. Bisogni Jr., B.A. McDonough, and T.S. Steenhuis. 2011. Impact of dissolved organic matter on colloid transport in the vadose zone: Deterministic approximation of transport deposition coefficients from polymeric coating characteristics. Water Res., 45(4): 1691-1071. doi:10.1016/j.watres.2010.10.030.

Faulkner, J.W., W. Zhang, L.D. Geohring, and T.S. Steenhuis. 2011. Nutrient transport within three vegetative treatment areas receiving silage bunker runoff. J. Environ. Manage., 92(3): 587-595. doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2010.09.020.

Faulkner, J.W., W. Zhang, L.D. Geohring, and T.S. Steenhuis. 2011. Tracer movement through paired vegetative treatment areas receiving silage bunker runoff. J. Soil Water Conserv., 66(1): 18-28. doi: 10.2489/jswc.66.1.18.

Zhang, W., J. Niu, V.L. Morales, X. Chen, A.G. Hay, J. Lehmann, and T.S. Steenhuis. 2010. Transport and retention of biochar particles in porous media: Effect of pH, ionic strength, and particle size. Ecohydrology 3(4): 497−508. doi: 10.1002/eco.160.


Courses taught: 

CSS 340 Applied Soil Physics, Spring 2012, 2013

Tags: college graduate committee

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