Superfund Research Program
Chloro-Organic Degradation by Polymer Membrane Immobilized Iron-Based Particle Systems
Project Leader: Dibakar Bhattacharyya
Grant Number: P42ES007380
Funding Period: 2000-2019
For the chloroorganics remediation, Principal Investigator Dibakar Bhattacharyya, Ph.D., and his research team developed various nanostructured membrane platforms, including functionalized full-scale robust polymeric membrane with reactive nanoparticles (NP) metallic nanoporous thin films and graphene-based membranes. The metal particles were directly synthesized in the membrane matrix through in-situ polymerization of functional responsive polymers (polyacrylic acid). Polymerization conditions were optimized to improve dechlorination performance (Islam et al., 2018). Progress on characterizing nanostructure of the membranes was made through imaging of NPs in membrane pores using focused ion beam and determining elemental composition throughout membrane depth. Palladium (Pd) loading of four percent on iron (Fe) lead to optimal dechlorination performance for Fe-Pd NPs. Fe-Pd nanostructure membranes exhibited over 90 percent removal of chlorinated organics from contaminated water samples (collaborative work for a Superfund site, with Arcadis Corp), and over 98 percent degradation of PCB 126 and PCB 1. The researchers quantified the role of Pd on hydrogen generation at the iron interface. Nanoporous Pd membranes fabricated by physical vapor deposition (Detisch et al., 2018) showed improved separation performance and high dechlorination efficiency for the removal of chlorinated organics. A multifunctional graphene-based platform was fabricated, which separated larger organic matter and achieved 60 percent removal of trichloroethylene (30 parts per million feed) by catalyzing persulfate mediated oxidative reactions. Additionally, a collaborative study with Northeastern University (NIEHS grantee) demonstrated chlorobenzene degradation through electrocatalytic Fenton reaction by palladium membranes (Nazari et al., 2018). In an extension of research translation work with industry, membranes with thiol functionalities were synthesized for capturing mercury from refinery water.