Analytical characterisation of nanoscale zero-valent iron: A methodological review.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Analytica chimica acta, 2016, 903 pp. 13 - 35
Issue Date:
2016-01
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Zero-valent iron nanoparticles (nZVI) have been widely tested as they are showing significant promise for environmental remediation. However, many recent studies have demonstrated that their mobility and reactivity in subsurface environments are significantly affected by their tendency to aggregate. Both the mobility and reactivity of nZVI mainly depends on properties such as particle size, surface chemistry and bulk composition. In order to ensure efficient remediation, it is crucial to accurately assess and understand the implications of these properties before deploying these materials into contaminated environments. Many analytical techniques are now available to determine these parameters and this paper provides a critical review of their usefulness and limitations for nZVI characterisation. These analytical techniques include microscopy and light scattering techniques for the determination of particle size, size distribution and aggregation state, and X-ray techniques for the characterisation of surface chemistry and bulk composition. Example characterisation data derived from commercial nZVI materials is used to further illustrate method strengths and limitations. Finally, some important challenges with respect to the characterisation of nZVI in groundwater samples are discussed.
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