The electrochemical behaviour of a synthetic boron-doped diamond thin film electrode (BDD) has been studied in acid media containing phenol using cyclic voltammetry and bulk electrolysis. The results have shown that in the potential region of water stability direct electron transfers can occur on BDD surface resulting in electrode fouling due to the formation of a polymeric film on its surface. During electrolysis in the potential region of oxygen evolution, complex oxidation reactions can take place due to electrogenerated hydroxyl radicals. Electrode fouling is inhibited under these conditions. Depending on the experimental conditions, the electrogenerated hydroxyl radicals can lead to the combustion of phenol or to the selective oxidation of phenol to benzoquinone. The experimental results have also been compared to a theoretical model that permits the prediction of the evolution with time of phenol concentration, during its combustion, or during its selective oxidation to benzoquinone.
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