A reactivity study was undertaken to compare and assess the rate of dechlorination of chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons (CAHs) by annealed and non-annealed nanoscale iron particles. The current study aims to resolve the uncertainties in recently published work studying the effect of the annealing process on the reduction capability of nanoscale Fe particles. Comparison of the normalized rate constants (m2/h/L) obtained for dechlorination reactions of trichloroethene (TCE) and cis-1,2-dichloroethene (cis-1,2-DCE) indicated that annealing nanoscale Fe particles increases their reactivity ~30-fold. An electron transfer reaction mechanism for both types of nanoscale particles was found to be responsible for CAH dechlorination, rather than a reduction reaction by activated H2 on the particle surface (i.e., hydrogenation, hydrogenolysis). Surface analysis of the particulate material using X-ray diffraction (XRD) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) together with surface area measurement by Brunauer, Emmett, Teller (BET) indicate that the vacuum annealing process decreases the surface area and increases crystallinity. BET surface area analysis recorded a decrease in nanoscale Fe particle surface area from 19.0 to 4.8 m2/g and crystallite dimensions inside the particle increased from 8.7 to 18.2 nm as a result of annealing.
Riba Tort, O., Barnes, R. J., Scott, T. B., Gardner, M. N., Jackman, S. A., & Thompson, I. P. (2011). Enhanced reactivity of nanoscale iron particles through a vacuum annealing process. Journal of Nanoparticle Research, 13(10), 4591. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11051-011-0421-0