Effect of polymer ratio on nZVI loading onto electrospun nanofiber mat for mitigating groundwater contaminants

J. Ren, L.D. Tijing, H.K. Shon
University of Technology Sydney,

Keywords: nZVI particles, immobilization, electrospun nanofibers , groundwater remediation


Nanoscale zero-valent iron (nZVI) has been widely used for the reduction of halogenated organics and heavy metals in the groundwater. However, individual nZVI particles are mobile and prone to aggregate, thereby reducing the reaction sites exposed to contaminants. Electrospun polymer nanofiber mat is an ideal carrier to immobilize and distribute nZVI paritcles after its merits of high specific area, size-controllable and material-compatible properties. In this study, nZVI particles were immobilized onto the polyacrylic acid (PAA) - polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) electrospun nanofiber mats with different PAA/PVA ratios. The results indicate that mat with the PAA/PVA ratio of 3:1 immobilized the most nZVI particles (more than 48 wt% immobilized on the mat) and had the highest removals to methylene blue at 94% and Cu (II) ions at 84%, due to a higher porosity of the mat as well as an increased number of free carboxylic groups available on the cross-linked nanofibers. The nZVI-immobilized electrospun nanofiber mat has promising application for the mitigation of groundwater contaminants.