Stabilization of nanoscale zero-valent iron in water with mesoporous carbon (nZVI@MC)

Junming Shi , Jing Wang , Wei Wang , Wei Teng , Wei-xian Zhang


Received January 12, 2019,Revised , Accepted February 08, 2019, Available online February 21, 2019

Volume ,2019,Pages 28-33

Two challenges persist in the applications of nanoscale zero-valent iron (nZVI) for environmental remediation and waste treatment: limited mobility due to rapid aggregation and short lifespan in water due to quick oxidation. Herein, we report the nZVI incorporated into mesoporous carbon (MC) to enhance stability in aqueous solution and mobility in porous media. Meanwhile, the reactivity of nZVI is preserved thanks to high temperature treatment and confinement of carbon framework. Small-sized (~ 16 nm) nZVI nanoparticles are uniformly dispersed in the whole carbon frameworks. Importantly, the nanoparticles are partially trapped across the carbon walls with a portion exposed to the mesopore channels. This unique structure not only is conductive to hold the nZVI tightly to avoid aggregation during mobility but also provides accessible active sites for reactivity. This new type of nanomaterial contains ~ 10 wt% of iron. The nZVI@MC possesses a high surface area (~ 500 m2/g) and uniform mesopores (~ 4.2 nm) for efficient pollutant diffusion and reactions. Also, high porosity of nZVI@MC contributes to the stability and mobility of nZVI. Laboratory column experiments further demonstrate that nZVI@MC suspension (~ 4 g Fe/L) can pass through sand columns much more efficiently than bare nZVI while the high reactivity of nZVI@MC is confirmed from reactions with Ni(II). It exhibits remarkably better performance in nickel (20 mg/L) extraction than mesoporous carbon, with 88.0% and 33.0% uptake in 5 min, respectively.

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