Selective formation of copper nanoparticles from acid mine drainage using nanoscale zerovalent iron particles
Journal of Hazardous Materials
Open Access funded by Natural Environment Research Council. Under a Creative Commons license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Nanoscale zerovalent iron (nZVI) has been investigated for the selective formation of Cu nanoparticles from acid mine drainage (AMD) taken from a legacy mine site in the UK. Batch experiments were conducted containing unbuffered (pH 2.67 at t=0) and pH buffered (pH <3.1) AMD which were exposed to nZVI at 0.1-2.0 g/L. Results demonstrate that nZVI is selective for Cu, Cd and Al removal (>99.9% removal of all metals within 1 h when nZVI ≥1.0 g/L) from unbuffered AMD despite the coexistent of numerous other metals in the AMD, namely: Na, Ca, Mg, K, Mn and Zn. An acidic pH buffer enabled similarly high Cu removal but maximum removal of only <1.5% and <0.5% Cd and Al respectively. HRTEM-EDS confirmed the formation of discrete spherical nanoparticles comprised of up to 68% wt. Cu, with a relatively narrow size distribution (typically 20-100 nm diameter). XPS confirmed such nanoparticles as containing Cu0, with the Cu removal mechanism therefore likely via cementation with Fe0. Overall the results demonstrate nZVI as effective for the one-pot and selective formation of Cu0-bearing nanoparticles from acidic wastewater, with the technique therefore potentially highly useful for the selective upcycling of dissolved Cu in wastewater into high value nanomaterials.
This work was financially supported by the Natural Environmental Research Council (grant number: NE/L013908/1) and the Camborne School of Mines Trust.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Elsevier via the DOI in this record.
Published online 18 December 2017