Journal of hazardous materials

Comparative electrochemical treatments of two chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons. Time course of the main reaction by-products.

PMID 21783322


Acidic aqueous solutions of the chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons 1,2-dichloroethane (DCA) and 1,1,2,2-tetrachloroethane (TCA) have been treated by the electro-Fenton (EF) process. Bulk electrolyses were performed at constant current using a BDD anode and an air diffusion cathode able to generate H(2)O(2) in situ, which reacts with added Fe(2+) to yield OH from Fenton's reaction. At 300 mA, almost total mineralization was achieved at 420 min for solutions containing 4mM of either DCA or TCA. Comparative treatments without Fe(2+) (anodic oxidation) or with a Pt anode led to a poorer mineralization. The better performance of the EF process with BDD is explained by the synergistic action of the oxidizing radicals, BDD(OH) at the anode surface and OH in the bulk, and the minimization of diffusional limitations. The decay of the initial pollutant accomplished with pseudo first-order kinetics. Chloroacetic and dichloroacetic acids were the major by-products during the degradation of DCA and TCA, respectively. Acetic, oxalic and formic acids were also identified. The proposed reaction pathways include oxidative and reductive (cathodic) dechlorination steps. Chlorine was released as Cl(-), being further oxidized to ClO(3)(-) and, mostly, to ClO(4)(-), due to the action of the largely generated BDD(OH) and OH.