Reactive Brilliant Red X-3B in aqueous solution could be degraded rapidly by zero-valent iron/activated carbon in the presence of microwave irradiation (ZVI/AC/MW). From the analysis of ultraviolet–visible adsorption, chemical oxygen demand, total organic carbon, infrared spectra and capillary electrophoresis, we found the degradation was complete and no intermediates remained in the final solution treated for 2 min. Considering the many advantages including high degradation ratios, short reaction time, low costs, no intermediates and no secondary pollution, this method might be fit for dealing with various azo dye wastewaters on a large scale.

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