Iron is a Block D, Period 4 element. It is the fourth most abundant element found in the Earth's crust. It is found in minerals such as hematite and magnetite. It is a strong, ductile and malleable metal.
Nano-iron particles are sub-micrometer particles of iron metal. Iron is highly reactive to both air (oxygen) and water, and in nanoparticles it is even more rapid than the bulk material. This characteristic limits its use to inert environments. Iron nanoparticles are not toxic.
The chemical properties of iron nanoparticles are outlined in the following table.
||[Ar] 3d6 4s2
The physical properties of iron nanoparticles are given in the following table.
The thermal properties of iron nanoparticles are provided in the table below.
Iron nanoparticles can be manufactured using several methods. They can be prepared using wet chemical processes such as colloid chemical or sol-gel methods; or by dry processes such as vapor deposition methods.
Another method is to synthesize the nanoparticles by the reduction of Fe(II) or Fe(III) salt with sodium borohydride in an aqueous medium.
The key applications of iron nanoparticles are listed below:
- For treating industrial sites contaminated with chlorinated organic compounds
- To treat many types of ground contamination such as grounds contaminated by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorine pesticides, and chlorinated organic solvents
- As a primary colorant in glass and ceramics and as a catalyst
- The magnetic properties of the nanoparticles allow them to be used in memory tape
- In medical and laboratory applications
- In magnetic data storage and resonance imaging (MRI)
- In plastics, nanowires, coatings, nanofibers and textiles
- In certain alloy and catalyst applications.