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Magnetite/Fe-Al-montmorillonite as a Fenton catalyst with efficient degradation of phenol

Wei, Xipeng, Wu, Honghai, Sun, Feng
Journal of colloid and interface science 2017 v.504 pp. 611-619
X-ray diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, adsorption, aluminum, catalysts, catalytic activity, ecotoxicology, iron, ligands, magnetic fields, magnetite, montmorillonite, nanoparticles, organic acids and salts, pH, phenol, scanning electron microscopy, temperature, transmission electron microscopy
A Fe-Al-MPM material assembled from nanosized magnetite and Fe-Al-pillared montmorillonite (Fe-Al-Mt) was characterized by XRD, XPS, BET, SEM and TEM. Fe-Al-Mt was proven to be capable of facilitating the dispersion of magnetite nanoparticles and inhibiting their aggregation. The coupling of Fe-Al-Mt with magnetite in Fe-Al-MPM improved its Fenton catalytic activity. Complete conversion of phenol within 80min with a high TOC removal rate (>78%) was achieved using Fe-Al-MPM as a heterogeneous Fenton catalyst under optimized conditions. The Fenton process first underwent a slow induction reaction, followed by the rapid oxidative decomposition of phenol. The existence of the induction reaction period was attributed to the need for activation of the iron species on the catalyst surfaces, and the duration depended on the solution temperature, pH and catalyst’s nature. More importantly, Fe-Al-MPM showed high stability, with a low iron-release even after it was recycled 5 times. The minimal iron-leaching from Fe-Al-MPM was ascribed to the competitive adsorption of the incorporated aluminum and all the iron species for the residual (low ecotoxicity) organic ligands. These organic acids were among the main products that remained at the end of the Fenton process. Also important was the ease of separation of Fe-Al-MPM under a magnetic field.