Colloid and Polymer Science

, Volume 294, Issue 10, pp 1557–1569 | Cite as

A novel radiation-induced grafting methodology to synthesize stable zerovalent iron nanoparticles at ambient atmospheric conditions

  • Sanduni Ratnayake
  • Dieter Schild
  • Edward Maczka
  • Elzbieta Jartych
  • Johannes Luetzenkirchen
  • Marek Kosmulski
  • Madhubhashini Makehelwala
  • Sujithra K. Weragoda
  • Atula Bandara
  • Ranjith Wijayawardana
  • Rohana Chandrajith
  • Srimathie P. Indrarathne
  • Rohan WeerasooriyaEmail author
Original Contribution


A novel method was developed to synthesize air-stable zerovalent iron nanoparticles (hereafter nZVI) utilizing a radiation grafting technique. The nZVI were synthesized by borohydrate reduction of FeCl3 and stabilized on a radiation grafted copolymer matrix. Polyacrylic acid (PAA) grafted non-woven polyethylene/polypropylene (NWPE/PP-g-PAA) was used as the copolymer matrix and Co-60 γ-radiation was applied. The nZVI adsorbed NWPE/PP-g-PAA (hereafter nZVI-Ads-NWP) polymer composites were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), vibrational spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Mössbauer spectroscopy, proton titrations, and zeta potential techniques. The SEM images showed that PAA was properly grafted onto the NWPE/PP fabric during irradiation and that the nZVI were well dispersed and stabilized on the fabric surface. Vibrational spectroscopy showed supplementary evidence for the proper grafting of PAA onto the base polymer and suggested a monodentate configuration as the primary interaction between the carboxylate groups of PAA and the nZVI surface. XRD, XPS, and Mössbauer analyses revealed core zerovalent iron with a shell mainly consisting of iron oxides. The pHZPC and pHIEP values of nZVI–NaCl suspensions were 7.3. Zeta potential and surface charge data were modeled using the 1-pK Stern layer model with two dissimilar sites for electrolyte and proton binding to account for the observed charge asymmetry.


Zerovalent iron nanoparticles (nZVI) Radiation grafting Grafted copolymer matrix Spectroscopic techniques 



Sudeera Randenigama is acknowledged for laboratory assistance. The InRC, UoP (Sri Lanka), is acknowledged for SEM facility. RW thanked the National Research Council of Sri Lanka for financial support provided under grant no. NRC-12-130. SR thanked the Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Board and Sri Lanka Gamma Centre for providing the irradiation facilities. Reviewers’ comments enhanced manuscript quality.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

396_2016_3894_MOESM1_ESM.docx (162 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 162 kb)
396_2016_3894_MOESM2_ESM.docx (322 kb)
ESM 2 (DOCX 321 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sanduni Ratnayake
    • 1
    • 2
  • Dieter Schild
    • 3
  • Edward Maczka
    • 4
  • Elzbieta Jartych
    • 4
  • Johannes Luetzenkirchen
    • 3
  • Marek Kosmulski
    • 4
  • Madhubhashini Makehelwala
    • 5
  • Sujithra K. Weragoda
    • 5
  • Atula Bandara
    • 6
  • Ranjith Wijayawardana
    • 7
  • Rohana Chandrajith
    • 8
  • Srimathie P. Indrarathne
    • 9
  • Rohan Weerasooriya
    • 9
    Email author
  1. 1.Post Graduate Institute of ScienceUniversity of PeradeniyaPeradeniyaSri Lanka
  2. 2.Sri Lanka Atomic Energy BoardWellampitiyaSri Lanka
  3. 3.Institute for Nuclear Waste Disposal (INE), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)KarlsruheGermany
  4. 4.Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer ScienceLublin University of TechnologyLublinPoland
  5. 5.National Water Supplies and Drainage BoardKandySri Lanka
  6. 6.Department of ChemistryUniversity of PeradeniyaPeradeniyaSri Lanka
  7. 7.Department of PhysicsUniversity of PeradeniyaPeradeniyaSri Lanka
  8. 8.Department of GeologyUniversity of PeradeniyaPeradeniyaSri Lanka
  9. 9.Department of Soil ScienceUniversity of PeradeniyaPeradeniyaSri Lanka

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