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Influence of electrolyte and voltage on the direct current enhanced transport of iron nanoparticles in clay

Gomes, Helena I., Dias-Ferreira, Celia, Ribeiro, Alexandra B., Pamukcu, Sibel
Chemosphere 2014 v.99 pp. 171-179
clay, electric current, electrolytes, groundwater, ionic strength, kaolin, nanoparticles, oxidation, pH, permeability, polymers, redox potential, remediation, soil permeability, soil pore system
Zero valent iron nanoparticles (nZVI) transport for soil and groundwater remediation is slowed down or halted by aggregation or fast depletion in the soil pores. Direct electric current can enhance the transport of nZVI in low permeability soils. However operational factors, including pH, oxidation–reduction potential (ORP), voltage and ionic strength of the electrolyte can play an important role in the treatment effectiveness. Experiments were conducted to enhance polymer coated nZVI mobility in a model low permeability soil medium (kaolin clay) using low direct current. Different electrolytes of varying ionic strengths and initial pH and high nZVI concentrations were applied. Results showed that the nZVI transport is enhanced by direct current, even considering concentrations typical of field application that favor nanoparticle aggregation. However, the factors considered (pH, ORP, voltage and electrolyte) failed to explain the iron concentration variation. The electrolyte and its ionic strength proved to be significant for pH and ORP measured during the experiments, and therefore will affect aggregation and fast oxidation of the particles.