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Environmental Engineering Research 2019;24(3): 463-473. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4491/eer.2018.320
A cost-effective method to prepare size-controlled nanoscale zero-valent iron for nitrate reduction
Claudio Adrian Ruiz-Torres1,2, René Fernando Araujo-Martínez1, Gabriel Alejandro Martínez-Castañón1, J. Elpidio Morales-Sánchez1, Tae-Jin Lee2, Hyun-Sang Shin2, Yuhoon Hwang2  , Abel Hurtado-Macías3, and Facundo Ruiz1
1Faculty of Sciences, The Autonomous University of San Luis Potosí (UASLP), Avenida Manuel Nava 6, Zona Universitaria, CP. 78290 San Luis Potosí, SLP., Mexico
2Department of Environmental Engineering, Seoul National University of Science and Technology, Seoul 01811, Republic of Korea
3Research Center for Advanced Materials (CIMAV), Ave. Miguel de Cervantes 120, Complejo Industrial Chihuahua, 31109 Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico
Corresponding Author: Yuhoon Hwang ,Tel: +82-2-970-6626, +52-444-826-2468, Fax: +82-2-971-5776, +52-444-826-2321, Email: yhhwang@seoultech.ac.kr
Facundo Ruiz ,Tel: +82-2-970-6626, +52-444-826-2468, Fax: +82-2-971-5776, +52-444-826-2321, Email: facundo@fciencias.uaslp.mx
Received: September 6, 2018;  Accepted: November 2, 2018.
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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%) 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%) 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.
Keywords: Ethylene glycol | High colloidal stability | Nanoscale zero-valent iron (nZVI) | Non-aqueous solvent | Stabilization mechanism | Ultra-small
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