January 13, 2023
Journal Article

Iodine capture with metal-functionalized polyacrylonitrile composite beads containing Ag0, Bi0, Cu0, or Sn0 particles


The capture of radioiodine from nuclear processes and the mitigation of environmental release are important topic areas of research. Some of the more commonly employed chemisorption-type iodine scavengers reported in the literature are based on metal-exchanged porous sorbents such as Ag-zeolites or metal-functionalized aerogels and xerogels. However, another option is to use zero-valent metals directly that have known high affinities for iodine gas [i.e., I2(g)]. In this study, fine metal particles of Ag0, Bi0, Cu0, and Sn0 were embedded in porous polyacrylonitrile (PAN) substrates at 75 mass% metal loadings within the form of ellipsoidal beads with maximum diameters of ~2–3 mm. These composite beads showed extremely high iodine loadings that are directly related to the metal particle loadings. The X-ray diffraction (XRD) analyses of Ag0, Bi0, Cu0, and Sn0 particles as well as metal-PAN composite beads reacted with iodine gas at 120 ± 1 °C showed phases of AgI, BiI3, CuI, and SnI4, respectively. For the Ag-PAN, Cu-PAN, and Sn-PAN beads, no other crystalline peaks were observed in XRD for unreacted metal or oxidized metals after 48 h in saturated I2(g) at 120 ± 1 °C, whereas unreacted metallic Bi0 was observed within the Bi-PAN composites. However, after a 72 h exposure at 120 ± 1 °C, both the Bi0 particles and the Bi-PAN composites showed full conversion from Bi0 to BiI3 with XRD. Comparisons between mass uptake data and X-ray absorption spectroscopy were used to better understand the phase distribution of the Bi phases present in the Bi-PAN+I composites. The iodine loadings (mg iodine per g sorbent, or qe) for these materials were 1120 (Ag-Particle), 1382 (Bi-Particle-72h), 1033 (Cu-Particle), 3000 (Sn-Particle), 753 (Ag-PAN), 1012 (Bi-PAN-72h), 1457 (Cu-PAN), and 1669 (Sn-PAN). It is possible that inexpensive sorbents such as these could be deployed to help limit or prevent release of radioiodine to the environment.

Published: January 13, 2023


Chong S., B.J. Riley, R.M. Asmussen, A. Fujii Yamagata, J. Marcial, S. Lee, and C. Burns. 2022. Iodine capture with metal-functionalized polyacrylonitrile composite beads containing Ag0, Bi0, Cu0, or Sn0 particles. ACS Applied Polymer Materials 4, no. 12:9040-9051. PNNL-SA-174578. doi:10.1021/acsapm.2c01407