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Kinetics and Reaction Pathways of Formaldehyde Degradation Using the UV-Fenton Method

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Abstract:

This study was based on the purpose of investigating the reaction rules of formaldehyde (HCHO) as an intermediate product in the degradation of many other organic wastewaters. The process conditions of UV-Fenton method for the degradation of the low concentrations of HCHO were studied in a batch photochemical reactor. The results showed that, when the original HCHO concentration was 30 mg/L, at an operating temperature of 23°C, pH  =  3, an H2O2 dosage of 68 mg/L, and an H2O2-to-Fe2+ mole ratio (H2O2:Fe2+) of 5, 91.89% of the HCHO was removed after 30 minutes. The degradation of HCHO in the UV-Fenton system was basically in accordance with the exponential decay. The kinetic study results showed that the reaction orders of HCHO, Fe2+, and H2O2 in the system were 1.054, 0.510, and 0.728, respectively, and the activation energy (Ea) was 9.85 kJ/mol. The comparison of UV/H2O2, Fenton, and UV-Fenton systems for the degradation of HCHO, and the results of iron catalyst tests showed that the mechanism of UV-Fenton on the degradation of HCHO was through a synergistic effect of Fe2+ and UV light to catalyze the decomposition of H2O2. The introduction of UV irradiation to the Fenton system largely increased the degradation rate of HCHO, mainly as a result of the accelerating effect on the formation of the Fe2+/Fe3+ cycle. The reaction products were analyzed by gas chromatography‐mass spectrometry and a chemical oxygen demand (COD) analyzer. The effluent gases also were analyzed by gas chromatography. Based on those results, the reaction pathways of HCHO in the UV-Fenton system were proposed. The qualitative and quantitative analysis of the reaction products and the COD showed that the main intermediate product of the reaction was formic acid, and the further oxidation of it was the rate-limiting step for the degradation of HCHO.

Keywords: UV-Fenton oxidation; formaldehyde; hydroxyl radicals; kinetics; reaction pathway

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/106143010X12851009156204

Affiliations: Xi'an Research Institute of High Technology, Xi'an, PR China

Publication date: May 1, 2011

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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