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Modeling the Reduction Kinetics of Munition Compounds by Humic Acids

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-03-29, 17:20 authored by Kevin P. Hickey, Jimmy Murillo-Gelvez, Dominic M. Di Toro, Herbert E. Allen, Richard F. Carbonaro, Pei C. Chiu
Dissolved organic matter (DOM) comprises a sizeable portion of the redox-active constituents in the environment and is an important reductant for the abiotic transformation of nitroaromatic compounds and munition constituents (NACs/MCs). Building a predictive kinetic model for these reactions would require the energies associated with both the reduction of the NACs/MCs and the oxidation of the DOM. The heterogeneous and unknown structure of DOM, however, has prohibited reliable determination of its oxidation energies. To overcome this limitation, humic acids (HAs) were used as model DOM, and their redox moieties were modeled as a collection of quinones of different redox potentials. The reduction and oxidation energies of the NACs/MCs and hydroquinones, respectively, via hydrogen atom transfer (HAT) reactions were then calculated quantum chemically. HAT energies have been used successfully in a linear free energy relationship (LFER) to predict second-order rate constants for NAC reduction by hydroquinones. Furthermore, a linear relationship between the HAT energies and the reduction potentials of quinones was established, which allows estimation of hydroquinone reactivity (i.e., rate constants) from HA redox titration data. A training set of three HAs and two NACs/MCs was used to generate a mean HA redox profile that successfully predicted reduction kinetics in multiple HA/MC systems.