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Environ Sci Technol. 2009 Mar 1;43(5):1507-14.

Adsorbed polyelectrolyte coatings decrease Fe(0) nanoparticle reactivity with TCE in water: conceptual model and mechanisms.

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1
Center for Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology (CEINT) and Departments of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213-3890, USA.

Abstract

The surfaces of reactive nanoscale zerovalent iron (NZVI) particles used for in situ groundwater remediation are modified with polymers or polyelectrolytes to enhance colloidal stability and mobility in the subsurface. However, surface modification decreases NZVI reactivity. Here, the TCE dechlorination rate and reaction products are measured as a function of adsorbed polyelectrolyte mass for three commercially available polyelectrolytes used for NZVI surface modification including poly(styrene sulfonate) (PSS), carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC), and polyaspartate (PAP). The adsorbed mass, extended layer thickness, and TCE-polyelectrolyte partition coefficient are measured and used to explain the effect of adsorbed polyelectrolyte on NZVI reactivity. For all modifiers, the dechlorination rate constant decreased nonlinearly with increasing surface excess, with a maximum of a 24-fold decrease in reactivity. The TCE dechlorination pathways were not affected. Consistent with Scheutjens-Fleer theory for homopolymer adsorption, the nonlinear relationship between the dechlorination rate and the surface excess of adsorbed polyelectrolyte suggests that adsorbed polyelectrolyte decreases reactivity primarily by blocking reactive surface sites at low surface excess where they adsorb relatively flat onto the NZVI surface, and by a combination of site blocking and decreasing the aqueous TCE concentration at the NZVI surface due to partitioning of TCE to adsorbed polyelectrolytes. This explanation is also consistent with the effect of adsorbed polyelectrolyte on acetylene formation. This conceptual model should apply to other medium and high molecular weight polymeric surface modifiers on nanoparticles, and potentially to adsorbed natural organic matter.

PMID:
19350927
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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