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The photocatalytic destruction of cinnamic acid and cinnamyl alcohol: mechanism and the effect of aqueous ions

Bouleghlimat, Emir, Bethell, Donald and Davies, Philip R. 2020. The photocatalytic destruction of cinnamic acid and cinnamyl alcohol: mechanism and the effect of aqueous ions. Chemosphere 251 , 126469. 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2020.126469

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Cinnamic acid was chosen as an exemplar molecule to study the effect of potential contaminants on the kinetics and mechanism of the photocatalytic destruction of hydrocarbons in aqueous solutions. We identify the principal intermediates in the photocatalytic reaction of the acid and corresponding alcohol, and propose a mechanism that explains the presence of these species. The impact of two likely contaminants of aqueous systems, sulfate and chloride ions were also studied. Whereas sulfate ions inhibit the degradation reaction at all concentrations, chloride ions, up to a concentration of 0.5 M, accelerate the removal of cinnamic acid from solution by a factor of 1.6. However, although cinnamic acid is removed, the pathway to complete oxidation is blocked by the chloride, with the acid being converted (in the presence of oxygen) into new products including acetophenone, 2-chloroacetophenone, 1-(2-chlorophenyl)ethenone and 1,2-dibenzoylethane. We speculate that the formation of these products involves chlorine radicals formed from the reaction of chloride ions with the photoinduced holes at the catalyst surface. Interestingly, we have shown that the 1-(2-chlorophenyl)ethenone and 1,2-dibenzoylethane products form from 2-chloroacetophenone when irradiated with 365 nm light in the absence of the catalyst. The formation of potentially dangerous side products in this reaction suggest that the practical implementation of the photocatalytic purification of contaminated water needs to considered very carefully if chlorides are likely to be present.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Chemistry
Cardiff Catalysis Institute (CCI)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0045-6535
Funders: EPSRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 18 March 2020
Date of Acceptance: 10 March 2020
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2021 03:05

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