The removal of uranium onto carbon-supported nanoscale zero-valent iron particles

Richard A Crane, Thomas Scott

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

32 Citations (Scopus)


In the current work carbon-supported nanoscale zero-valent iron particles (CS nZVI), synthesised by the vacuum heat treatment of ferric citrate trihydrate absorbed onto carbon black, have been tested for the removal of uranium (U) from natural and synthetic waters. Two types of CS nZVI were tested, one vacuum annealed at 600 °C for 4 h and the other vacuum annealed at 700 °C for 4 h, with their U removal behaviour compared to nZVI synthesised via the reduction of ferrous iron using sodium borohydride. The batch systems were analysed over a 28-day reaction period during which the liquid and nanoparticulate solids were periodically analysed to determine chemical evolution of the solutions and particulates. Results demonstrate a well-defined difference between the two types of CS nZVI, with greater U removal exhibited by the nanomaterial synthesised at 700 °C. The mechanism has been attributed to the CS nZVI synthesised at 700 °C exhibiting (i) a greater proportion of surface oxide Fe(2+) to Fe(3+) (0.34 compared to 0.28); (ii) a greater conversion of ferric citrate trihydrate [2Fe(C(6)H(5)O(7))·H(2)O] to Fe(0); and (iii) a larger surface area (108.67 compared to 88.61 m(2) g(−1)). Lower maximum U uptake was recorded for both types of CS nZVI in comparison with the borohydride-reduced nZVI. A lower decrease in solution Eh and DO was also recorded, indicating that less chemical reduction of U was achieved by the CS nZVI. Despite this, lower U desorption in the latter stages of the experiment (>7 days) was recorded for the CS nZVI synthesised at 700 °C, indicating that carbon black in the CS nZVI is likely to have contributed towards U sorption and retention. Overall, it can be stated that the borohydride-reduced nZVI were significantly more effective than CS nZVI for U removal over relatively short timescales (e.g.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2813
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Nanoparticle Research
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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