Removal of Pb(II) from aqueous solution by a zeolite-nanoscale zero-valent iron composite

Seol Ah Kim, Seralathan Kamala-Kannan, Kui Jae Lee, Yool Jin Park, Patrick J. Shea, Wang Hyu Lee, Hyung Moo Kim, Byung Taek Oh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

294 Scopus citations


The effectiveness of nanoscale zero-valent iron (nZVI) to remove heavy metals from water is reduced by its low durability, poor mechanical strength, and tendency to form aggregates. A composite of zeolite and nanoscale zero-valent iron (Z-nZVI) overcomes these problems and shows good potential to remove Pb from water. FTIR spectra support nZVI loading onto the zeolite and reduced Fe0 oxidation in the Z-nZVI composite. Scanning electron micrographs show aggregation was eliminated and transmission electron micrographs show well-dispersed nZVI in chain-like structures within the zeolite matrix. The mean surface area of the composite was 80.37m2/g, much greater than zeolite (1.03m2/g) or nZVI (12.25m2/g) alone, as determined by BET-N2 measurement. More than 96% of the Pb(II) was removed from 100mL of solution containing 100mg Pb(II)/L within 140min of mixing with 0.1g Z-nZVI. Tests with solution containing 1000mg Pb(II)/L suggested that the capacity of the Z-nZVI is about 806mg Pb(II)/g. Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy showed the presence of Fe in the composite; X-ray diffraction confirmed formation and immobilization of Fe0 and subsequent sorption and reduction of some of the Pb(II) to Pb0. The low quantity of Pb(II) recovered in water-soluble and Ca(NO3)2-extractable fractions indicate low bioavailability of the Pb(II) removed by the composite. Results support the potential use of the Z-nZVI composite in permeable reactive barriers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-60
Number of pages7
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
StatePublished - Feb 1 2013


  • Composite
  • Heavy metals
  • Nanoscale
  • Zeolite
  • Zero-valent iron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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