Mineralogical characteristics and transformations during long-term operation of a zero-valent iron reactive barrier

Debra Phillips, B. Gu, D.B. Watson, Y. Roh

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Received for publication October 31, 2002. Design and operation of Fe0 permeable reactive barriers (PRBs) can be improved by understanding the long-term mineralogical transformations that occur within PRBs. Changes in mineral precipitates, cementation, and corrosion of Fe0 filings within an in situ pilot-scale PRB were examined after the first 30 months of operation and compared with results of a previous study of the PRB conducted 15 months earlier using X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy employing energy dispersive X-ray and backscatter electron analyses. Iron (oxy)hydroxides, aragonite, and maghemite and/or magnetite occurred throughout the cores collected 30 mo after installation. Goethite, lepidocrocite, mackinawite, aragonite, calcite, and siderite were associated with oxidized and cemented areas, while green rusts were detected in more reduced zones. Basic differences from our last detailed investigation include (i) mackinawite crystallized from amorphous FeS, (ii) aragonite transformed into calcite, (iii) akaganeite transformed to goethite and lepidocrocite, (iv) iron (oxy)hydroxides and calcium and iron carbonate minerals increased, (v) cementation was greater in the more recent study, and (vi) oxidation, corrosion, and disintegration of Fe0 filings were greater, especially in cemented areas, in the more recent study. If the degree of corrosion and cementation that was observed from 15 to 30 mo after installation continues, certain portions of the PRB (i.e., up-gradient entrance of the ground water to the Fe0 section of the PRB) may last less than five more years, thus reducing the effectiveness of the PRB to mitigate contaminants. Abbreviations: EDX, energy dispersive X-ray • Fe0, zerovalent iron • PRB, permeable reactive barrier • SEM, scanning electron microscopy • XRD, X-ray diffraction
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2033-2045
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
    Volume32 (6)
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2003


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