One-Pot Synthesis of Nanoscale Zero-Valent Iron Immobilized with Granular Activated Carbon

Paul Douglas Mines, Henrik Rasmus Andersen, Yuhoon Hwang*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Activated carbon has widely been used to adsorb and remove various pollutants, but it is not an adequate treatment solution for degrading pollutants; rather, it merely transforms the pollutants from a liquid-phase to a solid-phase bound in the carbon matrix. In this study, we have investigated the immobilization of nanoscale zero-valent iron (nZVI) on granular activated carbon (GAC) for the purpose of providing redox reactivity towards water pollutants. Two representative processes for nZVI immobilization on granular activated carbon (GAC/Fe) were evaluated, and concluded by the suggestion of optimized conditions for synthesizing GAC/Fe composites. Both total iron content and Fe0 content can be significantly influenced by the preparation process; therefore, it was important to avoid oxidation during preparation, in order to achieve the highest possible reduction capacity. The optimal condition for producing reactive GAC/Fe was determined to be immersing GAC in a Fe2+ solution for 24 h, followed by the reduction of Fe2+ to Fe0 without an intermediate drying step. The reactivity of prepared GAC/Fe was tested by evaluating nitrate reduction; additionally, the effect of acid addition was investigated. A colorimetric assay was applied to quantify the reaction products, whereupon the effectiveness of the colorimetric assay was well verified. Ultimately, the prepared GAC/Fe composite demonstrated a synergistic effect between the adsorption capability of the GAC and the degradation capability of the nZVI, which make this composite a very effective material for environmental remediation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)725-734
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Nanoscale zero-valent iron
  • Granular activated carbon
  • Iron impregnation
  • Immobilization
  • Oxidation-reduction

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