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Kinetics and Mechanism of Ultrasonic Activation of Persulfate: An in Situ EPR Spin Trapping Study

Wei, Zongsu, Villamena, Frederick A., Weavers, Linda K.
Environmental Science & Technology 2017 v.51 no.6 pp. 3410-3417
alcohols, ambient temperature, aqueous solutions, bubbles, dissociation, electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy, equations, heat, hydrolysis, hydroxyl radicals, kinetics, oxidation, sulfates, ultrasonics, United States
Ultrasound (US) was shown to activate persulfate (PS) providing an alternative activation method to base or heat as an in situ chemical oxidation (ISCO) method. The kinetics and mechanism of ultrasonic activation of PS were examined in aqueous solution using an in situ electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spin trapping technique and radical trapping with probe compounds. Using the spin trap, 5,5-dimethyl-1-pyrroline-N-oxide (DMPO), hydroxyl radical (•OH) and sulfate radical anion (SO₄•–) were measured from ultrasonic activation of persulfate (US-PS). The yield of •OH was up to 1 order of magnitude greater than that of SO₄•–. The comparatively high •OH yield was attributed to the hydrolysis of SO₄•– in the warm interfacial region of cavitation bubbles formed from US. Using steady-state approximations, the dissociation rate of PS in cavitating bubble systems was determined to be 3 orders of magnitude greater than control experiments without sonication at ambient temperature. From calculations of the interfacial volume surrounding cavitation bubbles and using the Arrhenius equation, an effective mean temperature of 340 K at the bubble–water interface was estimated. Comparative studies using the probe compounds tert-butyl alcohol and nitrobenzene verified the bubble–water interface as the location for PS activation by high temperature with •OH contributing a minor role in activating PS to SO₄•–. The mechanisms unveiled in this study provide a basis for optimizing US-PS as an ISCO technology.