Comparative study of degradation of toluene and methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) in aqueous solution by pulsed corona discharge plasma


Ligy Philip , Jerin Jose

DOI:10.1016/j.jes.2020.09.003

Received May 24, 2020,Revised , Accepted September 08, 2020, Available online September 17, 2020

Volume 101,2021,Pages 382-396

Effectiveness of pulsed power plasma for the degradation of two toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs), toluene and methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK), in aqueous solution was evaluated. The plasma degradation of MIBK has been studied for the first time. The influence of initial concentration of target compound, solution pH and scavengers on percentage degradation was evaluated. 100% removal of 200 mg/L of toluene and MIBK was achieved both in liquid and gaseous phases after 12 and 16 min of plasma treatment, respectively. The first order rate constant of toluene and MIBK degradation (for 200 mg/L each) was 0.421 and 0.319 min−1 respectively when they were treated individually, and these values decreased slightly during degradation of their mixture. MIBK degradation was slower than toluene and it might be due to semi volatile and hydrophilic nature of MIBK. The effect of initial concentration of toluene and MIBK showed different degradation patterns. Highest degradation of both the compounds was obtained in neutral pH and in absence of scavengers. •OH radical was the major reactive species involved in their degradation. Their degradation in real environmental matrices showed that removal reduced significantly in secondary effluent due to scavenging of reactive species by various ions and organic matter. The total number of degradation intermediates identified in case of toluene and MIBK was 11 and 14 respectively and formate was the one recalcitrant byproduct generated. The degradation pathway of toluene and MIBK involving reactions of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species and reductive species is proposed.

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