Potential of zerovalent iron nanoparticles for remediation of environmental organic contaminants in water: a review

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Zerovalent iron (ZVI) has the potential to degrade different organic contaminants. Nanoscale zerovalent iron (NZVI) can reduce the contaminants even more rapidly due to its small size and large specific surface area (SSA), compared to granular ZVI. The main objective of this paper is to assess and compare the potential of NZVI for degradation of different contaminants in water under specific environmental conditions. As a first step, the potential reactive functional groups/bonds associated with different contaminants are identified and possible reaction mechanisms are discussed. Thereafter, the reaction efficiencies of different organic contaminants with NZVI are compared. Mass of ZVI and reaction time required to transform a certain amount of contaminated water are calculated based on literature data. Sources of contaminants in the environment and their environmental occurrences are discussed to understand the potential locations where NZVI could be applied for removal of different contaminants. Overall it is observed that azo-compounds are readily transformed in the presence of NZVI particles. Reaction efficiencies of ZVI for reduction of nitro-organic compounds are also reasonably high. However, halogenated compounds with high molecular weights or complex structures (i.e., iodinated contrast media, DDT, polychlorinated biphenyls, etc.) show lower reaction rates with NZVI compared to the widely studied chlorinated hydrocarbons (i.e., trichloroethylene).

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