Remediation of Cr(VI) and Pb(II) aqueous solutions using supported, nanoscale zero-valent iron

Sherman M. Ponder, John G. Darab, Thomas E. Mallouk

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1117 Citations (SciVal)


Borohydride reduction of an aqueous iron salt in the presence of a support material gives supported zero-valent iron nanoparticles that are 10- 30 nm in diameter. The material is stable in air once it has dried and contains 22.6% iron by weight. The supported zero-valent iron nanoparticles ('Ferragels') rapidly separate and immobilize Cr(VI) and Pb(II) from aqueous solution, reducing the chromium to Cr(III) and the Pb to Pb(0) while oxidizing the Fe to goethite (α-FeOOH). The kinetics of the reduction reactions are complex and include an adsorption phase. About 10% of the iron in the material appears to be located at active surface sites. Once these sites have been saturated, the reduction process continues but at a much lower rate, which is likely limited by mass transfer. Rates of remediation of Cr(VI) and Pb(11) are up to 30 times higher for Ferragels than for iron filings or iron powder on a (Fe) molar basis. Over 2 months, reduction of Cr(VI) was 4.8 times greater for Ferragels than for an equal weight of commercial iron filings (21 times greater on the basis of moles of iron present). The higher rates of reaction, and greater number of moles of contaminant reduced overall, suggest that Ferragels may be a suitable material for in situ remediation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2564-2569
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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