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Sonochemical Degradation of Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) in Groundwater: Kinetic Effects of Matrix Inorganics

Abstract

Ultrasonic irradiation has been shown to effectively degrade perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) such as perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) in aqueous solution. Reduced PFC sonochemical degradation rates in organic-rich groundwater taken from beneath a landfill, however, testify to the negative kinetic effects of the organic groundwater constituents. In this study, the PFOX (X = S or A) sonochemical degradation rates in a groundwater sample with organic concentrations about 10 times lower than those in the groundwater taken from beneath a landfill are found to be 29.7% and 20.5% lower, respectively, than the rates in Milli-Q water, suggesting that inorganic groundwater constituents also negatively affect PFC sonochemical kinetics. To determine the source of the groundwater matrix effects, we evaluate the effects of various inorganic species on PFOX sonochemical kinetics. Anions over the range of 1−10 mM show Hofmeister effects on the sonochemical degradation rates of PFOX, k_(ClO_4)^(−PFOX) > k_(NO_3)^(−PFOX) ~ k_(Cl^−)^(−PFOX) ≥ k_(MQ)^(−PFOX) > k_(HCO_3)^(−PFOX) ~ k_(SO_(4)^(2−)^(−PFOX). In contrast, common cations at 5 mM have negligible effects. Initial solution pH enhances the degradation rates of PFOX at 3, but has negligible effects over the range of 4 to 11. The observed inorganic effects on sonochemical kinetics are hypothesized to be due to ions’ partitioning to and interaction with the bubble−water interface. Finally, it is shown that the rate reduction in the groundwater in this study is primarily due to the presence of bicarbonate and thus can be fully rectified by pH adjustment prior to sonolysis

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