Water research

X-ray absorption and photoelectron spectroscopic study of the association of As(III) with nanoparticulate FeS and FeS-coated sand.

PMID 21911241


Iron sulfide (FeS) has been demonstrated to have a high removal capacity for arsenic (As) in reducing environments. However, FeS may be present as a coating, rather than in nanoparticulate form, in both natural and engineered systems. Frequently, the removal capacity of coatings may be different than that of nanoparticulates in batch systems. To assess the differences in removal mechanisms between nanoparticulate FeS and FeS present as a coating, the solid phase products from the reaction of As(III) with FeS-coated sand and with suspensions of nanoparticulate (NP) FeS were determined using x-ray absorption spectroscopy and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. In reaction with NP FeS at pH 5, As(III) was reduced to As(II) to form realgar (AsS), while at pH 9, As(III) adsorbed as an As(III) thioarsenite species. In contrast, in the FeS-coated sand system, As(III) formed the solid phase orpiment (As(2)S(3)) at pH 5, but adsorbed as an As(III) arsenite species at pH 9. These different solid reaction products are attributed to differences in FeS concentration and the resultant redox (pe) differences in the FeS-coated sand system versus suspensions of NP FeS. These results point to the importance of accounting for differences in concentration and redox when making inferences for coatings based on batch suspension studies.