Zero-valent iron (Fe0) has been widely used for Cr(VI) removal; however, the removal mechanisms of Cr(VI) from aqueous solution under complex hydrogeochemical conditions were poorly understood. In this research, the mixed materials containing cast iron and activated carbon were packed in columns for the treatment of aqueous Cr(VI)-Cr(III) in groundwater with high concentration of Ca2+, Mg2+, HCO3 −, NO3 −, and SO4 2−. We investigate the influences of those ions on Cr(VI) removal, especially emphasizing on the reaction mechanisms and associated precipitations which may lead to porosity loss by using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) techniques. The results show that the precipitations accumulated on the material surface were (Fe/Cr) (oxy)hydroxide, mixed Fe(III)-Cr(III) (oxy)hydroxides, Fe2O3, CaCO3, and MgCO3. During these reactions, the Cr(VI) was reduced to Cr(III) coupled with the oxidated Fe0 to Fe(II) through the galvanic corrosion formed by the Fe0-C and/or the direct electron transfer between Fe0 and Cr(VI). In addition, Cr(VI) could be reduced by aqueous Fe(II), which dominated the whole removal efficiency. The primary aqueous Cr(III) was completely removed together with Cr(III) reduced from Cr(VI) even when Cr(VI) was detected in the effluent, which meant that the aqueous Cr(III) could occupy the adsorption sites. In general, the combined system was useful for the Cr(VI)-Cr(III) treatment based on galvanic corrosion, and the hardness ions had a negative effect on Cr(VI) removal by forming the carbonates which might promote the passivation of materials and decrease the removal capacity of the system.
Environmental Science and Pollution Research – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 21, 2017
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