Nanoscale Iron Particles for Environmental Remediation: An Overview
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Nanoscale iron particles represent a new generation of environmental remediation technologies that could provide cost-effective solutions to some of the most challenging environmental cleanup problems. Nanoscale iron particles have large surface areas and high surface reactivity. Equally important, they provide enormous flexibility for in situ applications. Research has shown that nanoscale iron particles are very effective for the transformation and detoxification of a wide variety of common environmental contaminants, such as chlorinated organic solvents, organochlorine pesticides, and PCBs. Modified iron nanoparticles, such as catalyzed and supported nanoparticles have been synthesized to further enhance the speed and efficiency of remediation. In this paper, recent developments in both laboratory and pilot studies are assessed, including: (1) synthesis of nanoscale iron particles (10–100nm, >99.5% Fe) from common precursors such as Fe(II) and Fe(III); (2) reactivity of the nanoparticles towards contaminants in soil and water over extended periods of time (e.g., weeks); (3) field tests validating the injection of nanoparticles into aquifer, and (4) in situ reactions of the nanoparticles in the subsurface.
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