Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 10, pp 10013–10022 | Cite as

Effect of 3-D distribution of ZVI nanoparticles confined in polymeric anion exchanger on EDTA-chelated Cu(II) removal

  • Fei Liu
  • Xiaolin Zhang
  • Chao ShanEmail author
  • Bingcai Pan
Research Article


Millispherical nanocomposites are promising for water decontamination combining the high reactivity of the confined nanoparticles and the excellent hydrodynamic properties of the supporting host. However, the effect of three-dimensional (3-D) distribution of the nanoparticles inside the host on the performance of the nanocomposite was highly dependent on the specific decontamination process. In this study, four D201-ZVI nanocomposites from peripheral to uniform 3-D distributions of nZVI were prepared to evaluate the effect of 3-D distribution of the confined nanoparticles inside the host beads on the removal of EDTA-chelated Cu(II). The performance of Cu(II) removal increased with the 3-D distribution tailoring towards the peripheral region, which was also validated under various solution chemistry conditions in terms of initial pH, DO, and coexisting sulfate. The mechanism underlying the 3-D distribution effect may be ascribed to three perspectives. First, the dissolution of Fe was also higher from the peripherally distributed nZVI nanocomposites compared with the uniform ones. In addition, SEM-EDS analysis revealed the immobilization of Cu occurred at limited depth from the outermost surface of the composite beads, leading to the low spatial utilization of the inner core region. Furthermore, XRD and XPS analyses demonstrated the higher chemical utilization of nZVI for the outer-distributed nanocomposites owing to the shortened pathway for mass transfer. This study shed new light on the design and development of tunable nanocomposites of improved reactivity for water decontamination processes.


Complexed heavy metal Zero-valent iron Spatial distribution Nanocomposites Water decontamination 


Funding information

The study was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (Grant No. 2016YFA0203104) and Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51761165011 and 51608255).

Supplementary material

11356_2019_4451_MOESM1_ESM.docx (299 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 299 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, School of the EnvironmentNanjing UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.School of Chemical EngineeringHuaiyin Institute of TechnologyHuai’anPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Research Center for Environmental Nanotechnology (ReCENT)Nanjing UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China

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