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Nanotechnology. 2012 Jul 27;23(29):294014. doi: 10.1088/0957-4484/23/29/294014. Epub 2012 Jun 28.

Remediation of arsenic and lead with nanocrystalline zinc sulfide.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA.


Nanocrystalline (1.7 ± 0.3 nm) zinc sulfide with a specific surface area up to 360 m(2) g(-1) was prepared from the thermal decomposition of a single-source precursor, zinc ethylxanthate. Zinc ethylxanthate decomposes to cubic zinc sulfide upon exposure to temperatures greater than or equal to 125 °C. The resulting zinc sulfide was tested as a water impurity extractant. The target impurities used in this study were As(5+), As(3+), and Pb(2+). The reaction of the nanocrystalline ZnS with Pb(2+) proceeds as a replacement reaction where solid PbS is formed and Zn(2+) is released into the aqueous system. Removal of lead to a level of less than two parts per billion is achievable. The results of a detailed kinetics experiment between the ZnS and Pb(2+) are included in this study. Unlike the instance of lead, both As(5+) and As(3+) adsorb on the surface of the ZnS extractant as opposed to an ion-exchange process. An uptake capacity of > 25 mg g(-1) for the removal of As(5+) is possible. The uptake of As(3+) appears to proceed by a slower process than that of the As(5+) with a capacity of nearly 20 mg g(-1). The nanocrystalline zinc sulfide was extremely successful for the removal of arsenic and lead from simulated oil sand tailing pond water.

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