Magnetic γ-Fe2O3/ZIF-7 Composite Particles and Their Application for Oily Water Treatment

ACS Omega. 2022 Jan 15;7(4):3700-3712. doi: 10.1021/acsomega.1c06382. eCollection 2022 Feb 1.


Crude oil spills are about global challenges because of their destructive effects on aquatic life and the environment. The conventional technologies for cleaning crude oil spills need to study the selective separation of pollutants. The combination of magnetic materials and porous structures has been of considerable interest in separation studies. Here, γ-Fe2O3/ZIF-7 structures were prepared by growing a ZIF-7 layer onto supermagnetic γ-Fe2O3 nanoparticles with an average size of 18 ± 0.9 nm in situ without surface modification at low temperatures. The product composite particles were characterized using X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, vibrating sample magnetometry, and N2 adsorption/desorption isotherms. The analyses revealed a time growth-dependent ZIF-7 rod thickness with abundant nanocavities. The γ-Fe2O3/ZIF-7 surface area available for sorption (647 m2/g) is ∼12-fold higher than that of the γ-Fe2O3 nanoparticles. Moreover, the crystal structure of γ-Fe2O3 remained essentially unchanged following ZIF-7 coating, whereas the superparamagnetism declined depending on the coating time. The γ-Fe2O3/ZIF-7 particles were highly hydrophobic and selectively and rapidly (<5 min) sorbed crude oil and other hydrocarbon pollutants from water. As high as 6 g/g of the hydrocarbon was sorbed by the γ-Fe2O3/ZIF-7 particles immersed into the hydrocarbon. A coefficient of determination, R 2 2, consistently >0.96 at all pollutant concentrations suggested a pseudo-second-order sorption kinetics. The thermal stability and 15 cycles of use and reuse confirmed a robust γ-Fe2O3/ZIF-7 sorbent.