Oxidative degradation of phenol by sulfidated zero valent iron under aerobic conditions: The effect of oxalate and tripolyphosphate ligands

Chuanyu Qin , Xianglong Kong , Chengwu Zhang , Jingyi Zhang , Lishuang Xuan


Received January 18, 2020,Revised , Accepted July 16, 2020, Available online July 24, 2020

Volume 100,2021,Pages 82-89

After adding either organic or inorganic ligands, sulfidated nano-zero-valent iron (SnZVI) was used for aerobic degradation of phenol, and the effect of the ligand species on oxidation performance was investigated. We found that SnZVI hardly degraded phenol in the absence of ligand addition. Ligands initiated and promoted the degradation of pollutants by SnZVI. The data herein show that a characteristic inorganic ligand, tripolyphosphate (TPP), is more effective in enhancing oxidation than a characteristic organic ligand oxalate. In addition to the scavenging of reactive oxidants by the organic ligand, more ferrous ion (Fe(II)) dissolution from SnZVI in the TPP system is another cause for the superior enhancement by the inorganic ligand. In the oxalate system, as the sulfur content of SnZVI increased, the oxidation efficiency increased because FeS shell promoted the transfer of electrons to produce more reactive oxygen species (ROS). In TPP system, the effect of sulfur content on oxidation performance is more complex. The SnZVI with low sulfur content showed poor oxidation performance compared with that of nZVI. Further experiments proved that sulfidation might weaken the complexation of TPP with surface bound Fe, which would slow down the ionic Fe(II) dissolution rate. Therefore, sulfidation has the dual effects of enhancing electron transfer and inhibiting the complexation of inorganic ligands. In addition, the mechanisms of ROS generation in different ligand systems were investigated herein. Results showed that the critical ROS in both the oxalate and TPP systems are hydroxyl radicals, and that they are produced via one-electron activation of O2.

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