The interaction of surface electron distribution-polarized Fe/polyimide hybrid nanosheets with organic pollutants driving a sustainable Fenton-like process†
Many organic pollutants are rich in electrons, which are not used in the current pollutant removal technology, resulting in high energy consumption and low efficiency. To achieve a sustainable conversion of pollutants using Fenton-like technology, surface electron distribution-polarized lotus flower-like Fe-doped polyimide hybrid nanosheets (lf-Fe/PI HNs), a Fenton-like catalyst, are first developed for electron transfer and storage between pollutants and H2O2. Fe2+/Fe3+ ions are found in the framework of lf-Fe/PI HNs and directly bond with the C and N species of polyimide to form C–Fe–N–C in a closed loop. The experimental results and theoretical calculations demonstrate that electron-rich Fe and electron-deficient C areas are produced in the C–Fe–N–C of lf-Fe/PI HNs. This novel structure type in Fe-based materials leads to an excellent Fenton-like catalytic performance and efficiency for the refractory pollutant degradation under neutral conditions. The reaction rate is found to be 7–10 times higher than that of the conventional Fe-based Fenton-like catalyst. The reaction mechanism revealed that H2O2 is reduced to ˙OH radicals (further attacking pollutants) in the electron-rich Fe areas, and pollutants are mainly oxidized and degraded by providing electrons for the electron-deficient C areas. Fe–N–C acts as a bridge for electron transfer and electron storage carriers between pollutants and H2O2. This process enables the sustainable use of the electrons of pollutants, thereby greatly reducing the energy consumption for water treatment.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Materials Advances HOT Article Collection