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Design of a Highly Efficient and Wide pH Electro-Fenton Oxidation System with Molecular Oxygen Activated by Ferrous–Tetrapolyphosphate Complex

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journal contribution
posted on 03.03.2015, 00:00 by Li Wang, Menghua Cao, Zhihui Ai, Lizhi Zhang
In this study, a novel electro-Fenton (EF) system was developed with iron wire, activated carbon fiber, and sodium tetrapolyphosphate (Na6TPP) as the anode, cathode, and electrolyte, respectively. This Na6TPP–EF system could efficiently degrade atrazine in a wide pH range of 4.0–10.2. The utilization of Na6TPP instead of Na2SO4 as the electrolyte enhanced the atrazine degradation rate by 130 times at an initial pH of 8.0. This dramatic enhancement was attributed to the formation of ferrous–tetrapolyphosphate (Fe­(II)–TPP) complex from the electrochemical corrosion (ECC) and chemical corrosion (CC) of iron electrode in the presence of Na6TPP. The Fe­(II)–TPP complex could provide an additional molecular oxygen activation pathway to produce more H2O2 and OH via a series single-electron transfer processes, producing the Fe­(III)–TPP complex. The cycle of Fe­(II)/Fe­(III) was easily realized through the electrochemical reduction (ECR) process on the cathode. More interestingly, we found that the presence of Na6TPP could prevent the iron electrode from excessive corrosion via phosphorization in the later stage of the Na6TPP–EF process, avoiding the generation of iron sludge. Gas chromatograph-mass spectrometry, liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, and ion chromatography were used to investigate the degradation intermediates to propose a possible atrazine oxidation pathway in the Na6TPP–EF system. These interesting findings provide some new insight on the development of a low-cost and highly efficient EF system for wastewater treatment in a wide pH range.

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