This study investigated the enhancement of synergetic degradation of Fe/Cu/C (Fe: commercial iron, Cu: solid product of Fe reacted with CuSO4, C: carbon powder) for simulated groundwater contaminated by trichloroethylene (TCE). Zero valent iron (ZVI) as a reducing agent was proved to be effective for TCE removal. The Fe/Cu/C system resulted in higher reduction efficiency as a result of the synergetic role of Fe/Cu and Fe/C microelectrode than the Fe (ZVI) or Fe/Cu system, and the half-life was only about 0.4 h. When m(Fe) achieved 12.5 g L–1, the residual concentration of TCE almost leveled off. Fe:Cu = 10:1 or m(C) = 0.0086 g can induce the optimum function for TCE degradation. A neutral condition was appropriate for TCE degradation, and an acidic system slightly favored TCE dechlorination compared with an alkaline system. GC/MS analysis indicated that TCE was dechlorinated to 1,1-dichloroethene (1,1-DCE), cis-1,2-dichloroethene (cis-DCE) and vinyl chloride (VC), and 1,1-DCE might be the precursor. Fe/Cu/C reduction is a highly promising technique for TCE removal, and it is an excellent alternative to enhance TCE reductive dechlorination.

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