Nano Fe2O3 embedded in montmorillonite with citric acid enhanced photocatalytic activity of nanoparticles towards diethyl phthalate

Juan Gao , Zhaoyue Sun , Lisha Feng , Guodong Fang , Longgang Chu , Dongmei Zhou


Received June 22, 2020,Revised , Accepted August 20, 2020, Available online September 02, 2020

Volume 101,2021,Pages 248-259

Nano-Fe2O3 embedded in montmorillonite particles (Fe-Mt) were prepared to degrade diethyl phthalate (DEP) with citric acid (CA) under xenon light irradiation. Compared to pristine montmorillonite (Na-Mt), the embedding process increased 14.5-fold of iron content and 1.8-fold of specific surface area. The synthesized Fe-Mt have more oxygen vacancies than Fe2O3 nanoparticles (nFe2O3), which could induce more reactive oxygen species (ROSs) generation in the presence of CA under xenon lamp irradiation. Fe-Mt with CA enhanced photo-assisted degradation of DEP 2.5 times as compared to nFe2O3 with CA. Quenching experiments, electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy and identification of products confirmed that surface-bound •OH was the main radical to degrade DEP. Common anions (i.e., NO3, CO32−, Cl) and humic acid could compete •OH with DEP and cause slower degradation of DEP. The removal efficiency of DEP was more than 56% with Fe-Mt after three recycles, and the dissolved Fe concentration from Fe-Mt was below 75 μmol/L, indicating Fe-Mt had a good stability as a catalyst. Fe-Mt together with CA appeared to be a promising strategy to remove organic pollutants in surface water, or topsoil under solar irradiation.

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