Regeneration of a deactivated surface functionalised polyacrylonitrile supported Fenton catalyst for use in wastewater treatment
Successful attempts to regenerate a used surface functionalised nanocoated polyacrylonitrile (PAN) catalyst are described here. During use in wastewater treatment, the novel Fenton catalyst (F1) is deactivated due to iron loss caused by acid hydrolysis. In this study the deactivated catalyst (D1) is subjected to reactions with 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)-carbodiimide (EDC), followed by reactions with either hydroxylamine to give sample T1 or hydroxylamine and hydrazine to give sample T2. The samples were then impregnated with iron(III) salt to give either Fe-T1 or Fe-T2. The catalysts were characterized by Attenuated Total Reflectance Fourier Transform Infrared (ATR-FTIR), Atomic Absorption (AA) and UV/VIS spectroscopies, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) with energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX) spectroscopy and Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) spectroscopy. The iron on the regenerated catalyst was found to be in complexed form but had deposited iron oxide species as well. The catalysts were tested in batch mode and compared with the fresh modified PAN catalyst in the degradation of the dye Reactive Orange 16 (RO-16) with analysis by UV/VIS spectroscopy. The reactivated catalysts prepared with EDC were found to be more active and faster (as measured at 120 min) in decolourising RO-16 than the fresh catalytic mesh but also with a higher degree of Fe leaching (0.85% loss of iron per gram of Fe-T2 catalyst over 6 cycles compared to 0.32% loss of Fe per gram of F1 catalyst over 6 cycles). This leaching was found not to contribute significantly to degradation of the dye and the preliminary results suggest that the regime can be used for catalyst regeneration encouraging industrial uptake.