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The degradation of phenol in water solution by TiO2 photocatalysis in a helical reactor

  • Authors (legacy)
    Laoufi N., Tassalit D. and Bentahar F.

Heterogeneous photocatalysis is an advanced oxidation process (AOP) which has been
widely studied by numerous researchers in the world and is used to degrade or remove a
wide range of pollutants in water and air.
The photocatalytic oxidation and mineralization of phenol in aqueous catalyst suspensions of
titanium dioxide (TiO2) Degussa P25 (80% anatase, 20% rutile) has been carried out in a
helical reactor. The photodegradation was investigated using two kinds of high pressure
mercury irradiation lamps one emitting at 254 nm (15 Watts) and the other emitting at 365 nm
(400 Watts). The effects of the recirculation flow, source of withdrawal, initial phenol
concentration, amount of catalyst, suspension pH and light intensity on photodegradation of
phenol were investigated. These parameters were studied to find the optimal conditions for a
complete and fast oxidation of this organic compound.
Kinetic experiments were performed at 32 oC over a range of phenol concentrations from 2.5
to 25 mg l-1, a range of TiO2 concentrations from 0.1 to 1 g l1, a range of suspensions pH from
3 to 9. The helical reactor was operated under a continuous flow-mode.
Results showed that photodegradation is an effective method for the removal of phenol from
wastewaters. The efficiency of the process depends strongly on the experimental conditions.
The amount of catalyst, UV irradiation time, pH and light intensity were important parameters
in the degradation process. The rate constants for the different parameters (TiO2, phenol
concentration) were evaluated. Kinetic studies showed that titanium dioxide photocatalyst P25
was very active in phenol degradation; we observed that 99% of pollutant was degraded after
6 hours of UV irradiation; furthermore, we observed that phenol degradation was more
effective under acidic conditions than alkaline. The kinetics were described by the Langmuir-
Hinshelwood (L-H) kinetic model. An overall pseudo-first order kinetic constant has been
calculated for phenol conversion and values obtained in acidic pH are higher than those
calculated for basic pH media.

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