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The Impact of pH and Irradiation Wavelength on the Production of Reactive Oxidants during Chlorine Photolysis

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posted on 19.03.2019, 00:00 by Devon Manley Bulman, Stephen P. Mezyk, Christina K. Remucal
Chlorine photolysis is an advanced oxidation process which relies on photolytic cleavage of free available chlorine (i.e., hypochlorous acid and hypochlorite) to generate hydroxyl radical, along with ozone and a suite of halogen radicals. Little is known about the impact of wavelength on reactive oxidant generation even though chlorine absorbs light within the solar spectrum. This study investigates the formation of reactive oxidants during chlorine photolysis as a function of pH (6–10) and irradiation wavelength (254, 311, and 365 nm) using a combination of reactive oxidant quantification with validated probe compounds and kinetic modeling. Observed chlorine loss rate constants increase with pH during irradiation at high wavelengths due to the higher molar absorptivity of hypochlorite (pKa = 7.5), while there is no change at 254 nm. Hydroxyl radical and chlorine radical steady-state concentrations are greatest under acidic conditions for all tested wavelengths and are highest using 254 and 311 nm irradiation. Ozone generation is observed under all conditions, with maximum cumulative concentrations at pH 8 for 311 and 365 nm. A comprehensive kinetic model generally predicts the trends in chlorine loss and oxidant concentrations, but a comparison of previously published kinetic models reveals the challenges of modeling this complex system.