A cost-effective method to prepare size-controlled nanoscale zero-valent iron for nitrate reduction Article uri icon


  • Nanoscale zero-valent iron (nZVI) has proved to be an effective tool in applied environmental nanotechnology, where the decreased particle diameter provides a drastic change in the properties and efficiency of nanomaterials used in water purification. However, the agglomeration and colloidal instability represent a problematic and a remarkable reduction in nZVI reactivity. In view of that, this study reports a simple and cost-effective new strategy for ultra-small (< 7.5%25) distributed functionalized nZVI-EG (1-9 nm), with high colloidal stability and reduction capacity. These were obtained without inert conditions, using a simple, economical synthesis methodology employing two stabilization mechanisms based on the use of non-aqueous solvent (methanol) and ethylene glycol (EG) as a stabilizer. The information from UV-Vis absorption spectroscopy and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy suggests iron ion coordination by interaction with methanol molecules. Subsequently, after nZVI formation, particle-surface modification occurs by the addition of the EG. Size distribution analysis shows an average diameter of 4.23 nm and the predominance (> 90%25) of particles with sizes < 6.10 nm. Evaluation of the stability of functionalized nZVI by sedimentation test and a dynamic light-scattering technique, demonstrated very high colloidal stability. The ultra-small particles displayed a rapid and high nitrate removal capacity from water. © 2019 Korean Society of Environmental Engineers.

publication date

  • 2019-01-01