Year of Publication


Document Type





Chemical Engineering

First Advisor

Dibakar Bhattacharyya


The use of hydroxyl radical based reaction (Fenton reaction) for the destruction of organic pollutants has been widely reported in the literature. However, the low pH requirement and rapid hydrogen peroxide consumption rate make the application of conventional Fenton reaction difficult for in-situ treatment. In this study, we conducted a modified Fenton reaction by introducing a chelating agent into the reaction system that could prevent Fe(OH)3 (s) precipitation even at a neutral pH condition and reduce the H2O2 consumption rate by controlling the Fe2+ concentration. A chelating agent (mono-chelate or poly-chelate) combines with Fe2+ or Fe3+ to form stable metal-chelate complexes in solution. This decreases the concentration of Fe2+ in the solution so that reactions can be carried for longer contact times. Experimental results (citrate was the chelating agent) for 2,4,6-trichlorophenol (TCP) showed that TCP degradations were greater than 95% after 2.5 h and 24 h reaction times at fixed pH 5 and 6, respectively. For the same reaction time, the normalized chloride formations were 85% at pH 5 and 88% at pH 6. Several other chlorinated organic compounds were also chosen as the model compounds for detoxification studies because of their chemical structures: trichloroethylene (unsaturated hydrocarbon), carbon tetrachloride (highly oxidized compound), 2,2-dichlorobiphenyl, and biphenyl (a dual-aromatic ring structure). Poly-chelating agents (such as polyacrylic acid-PAA) provide multiple Fe2+/Fe3+ binding sites in the modified Fenton reaction for the oxidation of contaminants (2,2-dichlorobiphenyl, and biphenyl) at a neutral pH environment. Numerical simulation based on the kinetic model developed from the well known Fenton reaction and iron-chelate chemistry fits experiment data well for both standard and chelate modified Fenton reactions. In this dissertation, it was proven that both monomeric (citrate) and polymeric (PAA) chelate modified Fenton reactions were effective for dechlorination of carbon tetrachloride from aqueous phase by the superoxide radical anion. On the other hand, PAA (a poly-chelating agent) can also be used for solid surface modification by polymerization of acrylic acid (monomer). The successful degradations of biphenyl and trichloroethylene by the PAA functionalized silica particles/membrane demonstrate the versatile applications of the chelate modified Fenton reaction.