Environmental catalysis and materials

Photocatalytic degradation of perfluorooctanoic acid with β-Ga2O3 in anoxic aqueous solution

Baoxiu Zhao , Mou Lv , Li Zhou


Received May 05, 2011,Revised August 02, 2011, Accepted , Available online April 06, 2012

Volume 24,2012,Pages 774-780

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a new-found hazardous persistent organic pollutant, and it is resistant to decomposition by hydroxyl radical (HO·) due to its stable chemical structure and the high electronegativity of fluorine. Photocatalytic reduction of PFOA with β-Ga2O3 in anoxic aqueous solution was investigated for the first time, and the results showed that the photoinduced electron (ecb-) coming from the β-Ga2O3 conduction band was the major degradation substance for PFOA, and shorter-chain perfluorinated carboxylic acids (PFCAs, CnF2n+1COOH, 1 ≤ n ≤ 6) were the dominant products. Furthermore, the concentration of F- was measured by the IC technique and defluorination efficiency was calculated. After 3 hr, the photocatalytic degradation efficiency was 98.8% and defluorination efficiency was 31.6% in the presence of thiosulfate and bubbling N2. The degradation reaction followed first-order kinetics (k = 0.0239 min-1, t1/2 = 0.48 hr). PFCAs (CnF2n+1COOH, 1 ≤ n ≤ 7) were detected and measured by LC-MS and LC-MS/MS methods. It was deduced that the probable photocatalytic degradation mechanism involves ecb- attacking the carboxyl of CnF2n+1COOH, resulting in decarboxylation and the generation of CnF2n+1·. The produced CnF2n+1· reacted with H2O, forming CnF2n+1OH, then CnF2n+1OH underwent HF loss and hydrolysis to form CnF2n+1COOH.

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