The effect of vacuum annealing on the remediation abilities of iron and iron-nickel nanoparticles

Michelle Dickinson*, Thomas B. Scott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Zero-valent iron nanoparticles are effective remediators of uranium from solution. It is postulated that the improved core crystallinity and the migration of impurity phases to the nanoparticle surfaces induced by annealing may improve their corrosion resistance and reactive lifespan. The ability of annealed and non-annealed Fe and FeNi nanoparticles to remediate a U-contaminated effluent from AWE, Aldermaston was investigated. Nanoparticles (of diameter typically between 0 and 100 nm) were introduced to the effluent and allowed to react for 7 days during which the liquid and nanoparticulate solids were periodically sampled. In all the systems, the maximum U-uptake occurred within 1 h of introduction, with variable efficiency. The Fe nanoparticles removed 98% of the total U from solution, resulting in a final U-concentration of <4 μg/L. A rapid release of Fe into solution was recorded early in the reaction period: attributed to limited partial dissolution of the nanoparticles. Annealing the Fe nanoparticles did not affect their efficiency but the dissolution of Fe was significantly reduced and X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy indicated slower progressive oxidation. The performance of the FeNi nanoparticles was significantly improved by annealing, with U-uptake increasing from 50 to 94%. Although the dissolution of Ni was completely inhibited by annealing, the Fe dissolution increased compared to that observed for the non-annealed FeNi nanoparticles, in contrast to behaviour exhibited by Fe-annealed nanoparticles. In all the systems, U was reduced to U(IV) and retained on the surfaces of the nanoparticulate solids for up to 48 h; the U-stability was not affected by annealing the Fe or the FeNi nanoparticles before use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3699-3711
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Nanoparticle Research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011


  • Anneal
  • Environment
  • Iron
  • Nanoparticles
  • Nickel
  • Pollution
  • Uranium
  • Water quality


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