The kinetics of chromate removal from contaminated water by zerovalent iron media are not well understood. This study investigated the reactions occurring on iron surfaces in chromate solutions in order to understand the removal kinetics and to assess the long-term ability of zerovalent iron for removing Cr(VI) from contaminated water. Tafel polarization analysis and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy were used to determine the corrosion rates and charge-transfer resistances associated with Cr(VI) removal by iron wires suspended in electrolyte solutions with initial Cr(VI) concentrations of 10 000 μg/L. The condition of the iron surfaces at the time of their exposure to chromate determined the effectiveness of the iron for chromate removal. Both iron coated with a water-formed oxide and initially oxide-free iron were effective for chromate removal. However, iron coated with an airformed oxide was an order of magnitude less effective for removing soluble chromium. Although iron with the airformed oxide was largely passivated with respect to chromate removal, its overall rate of corrosion was similar to that for iron with the other initial surface conditions. This indicates that water, but not chromate, was able to penetrate the air-formed oxide coating and access cathodic sites. For all initial surface conditions, addition of chromate decreased the corrosion rate by increasing the corrosion potential and the anodic charge transfer resistance. Although Cr(VI) is a strong oxidant, rates of iron corrosion were not proportional to the aqueous Cr(VI) concentrations due to anodic control of iron corrosion. Under anodically controlled conditions, the rate of corrosion was limited by the rate at which Fe2+ could be released at anodic sites and not by the rate at which oxidants were able to accept electrons. This study shows that the zero order removal kinetics of Cr(VI) by iron media can be explained by anodic control of iron corrosion and the concomitant anodic control of Cr(VI) reduction.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry