Main content area

Contribution of alcohol radicals to contaminant degradation in quenching studies of persulfate activation process

Zhu, Changyin, Zhu, Fengxiao, Dionysiou, Dionysios D., Zhou, Dongmei, Fang, Guodong, Gao, Juan
Water research 2018 v.139 pp. 66-73
anaerobic conditions, carbon tetrachloride, dechlorination, dissolved oxygen, electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy, ethanol, free radicals, oxidation, oxygen, trichloroacetic acid
Alcohols such as ethanol (EtOH) and tert-butanol (TBA) are frequently used as quenching agents to identify the primary radical species in the persulfate (PS)-based oxidation processes. However, the contribution of alcohol radicals (ARs) to contaminant degradation in this process has rarely been assessed. In this study, trichloroacetic acid (TCA), phenol, and carbon tetrachloride were selected as probes to test the role of ARs in the thermally activated PS system. It was found that the degradation rates of these compounds were largely depended on their reactivities with ARs and the concentration of dissolved oxygen in the reaction system. In the PS/alcohol system, TCA was degraded efficiently under anaerobic conditions, while it was hardly degraded in the presence of oxygen. The results of electron paramagnetic resonance, reducing radical quenching studies, and the analysis of PS consumption suggested that ARs were the dominant reactive species contributing to TCA degradation in the PS/EtOH system under anaerobic conditions. Further studies indicated that ARs could significantly degrade CCl4 through dechlorination but not phenol. CCl4 was also degraded efficiently by ARs when oxygen in the reaction solution was completely consumed by ARs. This study highlights the important role of alcohol radicals in the degradation of contaminants during quenching studies in PS-activated processes.