2003 Progress Report: Nanoscale Bimetallic Particles for In Situ Remediation

EPA Grant Number: R829625
Title: Nanoscale Bimetallic Particles for In Situ Remediation
Investigators: Zhang, Wei-xian
Institution: Lehigh University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: January 1, 2002 through December 31, 2005 (Extended to April 30, 2006)
Project Period Covered by this Report: January 1, 2003 through December 31, 2004
Project Amount: $300,000
RFA: Exploratory Research: Nanotechnology (2001) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Waste/Remediation , Nanotechnology , Safer Chemicals


The objective of this research project is to research and develop the nanoscale bimetallic particle technology for in situ remediation.

Progress Summary:

Our work in the past year further testifies that nanoscale iron particles are effective for the transformation and detoxification of a wide variety of common environmental contaminants. The iron nanoparticle technology based upon our laboratory research has been applied in several field projects.

Major progress in the laboratory studies includes:

  • Understanding the kinetics and reaction mechanisms with organochlorine pesticides.
  • Understanding the rate and extent of hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] reduction and immobilization using nanoscale iron particles.
  • Initiation of preliminary work on synthesis and characterization of porous iron particles.

We have created an entirely new class of zero-valent iron particles. Hollow iron spheres with micro- and nano-scale pores were prepared using template-directed synthesis. Iron nanoparticles were deposited on the surfaces of polymeric resin by reductive precipitation. The resin was subsequently removed by heat treatment. Specific surface area of the resulting iron spheres (0.4 mm diameter) was 2,100 m2/kg, which is 1,250 times larger than the theoretical specific surface area of solid iron particles at the same size. Tests further suggest that the iron spheres are effective for the reduction of several common environmental pollutants including azo dyes and chlorinated aliphatic compounds. The reaction rate per unit of iron mass was approximately 1,461 times higher than that of solid iron particles of the same size. The nanoporous iron may have broad potential in groundwater remediation and industrial waste treatment.

Our work also has attracted significant media attention with reports appearing in many newspapers and magazines, including:

  • National Science Foundation. Nanoscale iron could help cleanse the environment. September 3, 2002, NSF-PR 03-94. http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/news/03/pr0394.htm Exit (press release that includes PI’s research).
  • Goho A. Nanosponges: plastic particles pick up pollutants. Science News 2004;165(8):116-117 (February 21 magazine article includes PI’s research).
  • National Science and Technology Council. National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). Research and Development Supporting the Next Industrial Revolution. Supplement to the President’s FY 2004 Budget. 2004, p. 33 (http://www.nano.gov/html/res/fy04-pdf/fy04-main.html Exit ).
  • 2003–The year in technology. NASA Tech Briefs 2003;27(12):21.
  • Mead T. Iron nanodusts zaps tricky pollutants. New Scientist, September 20, 2003, p. 22 (magazine article that includes PI’s research).
  • Ironing out the water shortage problem. Prism, November 2003;13(3) (http://www.prism-magazine.org/nov03/briefings.cfm, magazine article that includes PI’s research Exit ).
  • Svitil K. Got pollution? Get rust. Discover Magazine, December 2003;24(12) (http://www.discover.com/issues/dec-03/rd/got-pollution-get-rust/ Exit , magazine article on PI’s research).
  • Got filthy water? Don’t worry, the nano things will clean up. Popular Science, September 2003, pp. 46 (magazine article that includes PI’s research).
  • Tristram C. Nanotech cleans up. MIT Technology Review, June 18, 2003 (http://www.technologyreview.com/news/401959/nanotech-cleans-up/ Exit , online article that includes PI’s research)

Future Activities:

The remaining tasks will be completed in the first half of 2005. We have obtained samples of contaminated soil and water from several sites containing TCE and Cr(VI). Lab studies will be conducted to verify the efficacy of iron nanoparticles to treat the water and soil samples. Several publications are under preparation. We expect two graduate students will graduate at the end of this project.

Journal Articles on this Report : 5 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other project views: All 111 publications 20 publications in selected types All 14 journal articles
Type Citation Project Document Sources
Journal Article Cao J, Elliott D, Zhang W-X. Perchlorate reduction by nanoscale iron particles. Journal of Nanoparticle Research 2005;7(4-5):499-506. R829625 (2003)
R829625 (Final)
GR832225 (2005)
GR832225 (2006)
GR832225 (Final)
  • Full-text: CMS-Full Text PDF
  • Abstract: Springer-Abstract
  • Journal Article Glazier R, Venkatakrishnan R, Gheorghiu F, Walata L, Nash R, Zhang W-X. Nanotechnology takes roots. Civil Engineering-ASCE 2003;73(5):64-69. R829625 (2002)
    R829625 (2003)
    R829625 (Final)
  • Abstract: ASCE
  • Journal Article Lien H-L, Zhang W-X. Hydrodechlorination of chlorinated ethanes by nanoscale Pd/Fe bimetallic particles. Journal of Environmental Engineering-ASCE 2005;131(1):4-10. R829625 (2003)
    R829625 (Final)
    GR832225 (2005)
    GR832225 (2006)
    GR832225 (Final)
  • Full-text: National University of Kaohsiung-Full Text PDF
  • Abstract: ASCE-Abstract
  • Journal Article Masciangioli T, Zhang W-X. Environmental technologies at the nanoscale. Environmental Science & Technology 2003;37(5):102A-108A. R829625 (2002)
    R829625 (2003)
    R829625 (Final)
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Full-text: ACS PDF
  • Abstract: ACS
  • Journal Article Zhang W-X. Nanoscale iron particles for environmental remediation: an overview. Journal of Nanoparticle Research 2003;5(3-4):323-332. R829625 (2002)
    R829625 (2003)
    R829625 (Final)
  • Full-text: Lehigh University
  • Abstract: Springer
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    water, groundwater, soil, volatile organic compound, VOC, dense nonaqueous phase liquid, DNAPL, solvents, heavy metals, nanoparticles,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Waste, Water, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Sustainable Industry/Business, Physics, Remediation, Environmental Chemistry, Sustainable Environment, Restoration, Technology for Sustainable Environment, New/Innovative technologies, Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, Environmental Engineering, waste reduction, detoxification, industrial wastewater, in situ remediation, membranes, remediation technologies, nanotechnology, environmental sustainability, reductive degradation of hazardous organics, nanocatalysts, catalytic studies, environmentally applicable nanoparticles, aquifer remediation design, groundwater remediation, acuatic ecosystems, degradation rates, sustainability, reductive dechlorination, hazardous organics, bimetallic particles, groundwater contamination, innovative technologies, ultrafiltration, membrane-based nanostructured metals, pollution prevention, contaminated aquifers, membrane technology, reductive detoxification, recycle, transition metal carbides, metal removal

    Relevant Websites:

    http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/news/03/pr0394.htm Exit
    http://www.prism-magazine.org/nov03/briefings.cfm Exit
    http://www.discover.com/issues/dec-03/rd/got-pollution-get-rust/ Exit

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2002 Progress Report
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • Final Report