Journal article

Electrochemical incineration of chloromethylphyenoxy herbicides in acid medium by anodic oxidation with boron-doped diamond electrodes

The electrochemical degradation of saturated solutions of herbicides 4-chloro-2-methylphenoxyacetic acid, 2-(4-chlorophenoxy)-2-methylpropionic acid and 2-(4-chloro-2-methylphenoxy)propionic acid in 1 M HClO4 on a boron-doped diamond (BDD) thin film anode has been studied by chronoamperometry, cyclic voltammetry and bulk electrolysis. At low anodic potentials polymeric products are formed causing the fouling and deactivation of BDD. This is reactivated at high potentials when water decomposes producing hydroxyl radical as strong oxidant of organics. Electrolyses in a batch recirculation system at constant current density ≥8 mA cm−2 yielded overall decontamination of all saturated solution. The effect of current density and herbicide concentration on the degradation rate of each compound, the specific charge required for its total mineralization and instantaneous current efficiency have been investigated. Experimental results have been compared with those predicted by a theoretical model based on a fast anodic oxidation of initial herbicides, showing that at 30 mA cm−2 their degradation processes are completely controlled by mass transfer. Kinetic analysis of the change of herbicide concentration with time during electrolysis, determined by high-performance liquid chromatography, revealed that all compounds follow a pseudo first-order reaction. Aromatic intermediates and generated carboxylic acids have been identified using this technique and a general pathway for the electrochemical incineration of all herbicides on BDD is proposed.


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