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Hydrothermal synthesis of iron oxide photo-Fenton catalysts: the effect of parameters on morphology, particle size and catalytic efficiency

Paper Topic: 
Advanced Oxidation Processes

Pages :
474 - 484

Corresponing Author: 
Adrián M.T. Silva
Pastrana-Martínez L.M. Gomes H.T. Dražić G. Faria J.L. Silva A.M.T.
Paper ID: 
Paper Status: 
Date Paper Accepted: 
Paper online: 


Iron oxide materials were synthesized by an easy and rapid hydrothermal method using different iron precursors (FeCl3∙6H2O, Fe(NO3)3∙9H2O and K4Fe(CN)6∙3H2O), solution pHs (acid and basic) and reaction times (3 h and 6 h). The synthesized materials were thoroughly characterized by transmission electron microscopy and it was found that, depending on the synthesis conditions, iron oxide samples with crystalline or with amorphous structures could be obtained. Except for the materials synthesised from K4Fe(CN)6∙3H2O and FeCl3∙6H2O under acidic conditions all the samples show mean particle sizes below 70 nm. The materials were further tested as catalysts for the degradation of 100 mg l-1 diphenhydramine aqueous solutions by the photo-Fenton process at 25°C, pH = 2.8, 100 mg l-1 of catalyst and 16 mM of H2O2 concentration. The best results in terms of pollutant removal and mineralization extent were obtained with the catalysts prepared from Fe(NO3)3∙9H2O and K4Fe(CN)6∙3H2O, under basic conditions, after 3 h of synthesis reaction time (complete degradation of diphenhydramine and total organic carbon removal higher than 60% after 60 min of reaction). Leaching of iron species from these catalysts was measured below 1.5 mg l-1, a value complying with European Union Directives.


iron oxide, hydrothermal method, iron precursors, transmission electron microscopy, photo-Fenton