Scientific reports

Atrazine degradation through PEI-copper nanoparticles deposited onto montmorillonite and sand.

PMID 28469190


We present the synthesis of new composite materials based on copper nanoparticles (Cu NPs) deposited onto montmorillonite (MK10) and quartz sand, for degradation of atrazine, in the context of an advanced oxidation process (AOP). The synthesis involves a first step in which polyethylenimine (PEI) capped Cu NPs (PEI_Cu NPs) are prepared, and then deposited onto, separately, MK10 and sand, through a solvent impregnation method. The resulting products are characterized in detail; the copper is found to exist as a mixture of copper (I, II) oxide. The degradation of atrazine follows a second-order kinetic model with constant values of K2 = 1.7957 g mg(-1) min(-1) for MK10_PEI_Cu NPs and K2 = 0.8133 g mg(-1) min(-1) for sand_PEI_Cu NPs. The reaction rate is linked to Cu2O and CuO redox-active species within the layers, pores and surface of the host materials. A degradation mechanism is found with application of these composite materials in the presence of H2O2; adsorption occurs in the absence of H2O2. In contrast, the unmodified MK10 and sand exhibit adsorption in both of the above reaction conditions. Finally, the stability of the Cu NPs following degradation is evaluated, and no significant amount of copper leaching is found.