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Chemosphere

A comparative study of the electrochemical oxidation of the herbicide tebuthiuron using boron-doped diamond electrodes.


PMID 22406242

Abstract

The thiadiazolylurea derivative tebuthiuron (TBH) is commonly used as an herbicide even though it is highly toxic to humans. While various processes have been proposed for the removal of organic contaminants of this type from wastewater, electrochemical degradation has shown particular promise. The aim of the present study was to investigate the electrochemical degradation of TBH using anodes comprising boron-doped (5000 and 30,000 ppm) diamond (BDD) films deposited onto Ti substrates operated at current densities in the range 10-200 mA cm(-2). Both anodes removed TBH following a similar pseudo first-order reaction kinetics with k(app) close to 3.2 × 10(-2) min(-1). The maximum mineralization efficiency obtained was 80%. High-pressure liquid chromatography with UV-VIS detection established that both anodes degraded TBH via similar intermediates. Ion chromatography revealed that increasing concentrations of nitrate ions (up to 0.9 ppm) were formed with increasing current density, while the formation of nitrite ions was observed with both anodes at current densities ≥ 150 mA cm(-2). The BDD film prepared at the lower doping level (5000 ppm) was more efficient in degrading TBH than its more highly doped counterpart. This unexpected finding may be explained in terms of the quantity of impurities incorporated into the diamond lattice during chemical vapor deposition.

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