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Chemical reactions at aqueous interfaces

Citation

Vecitis, Chad David (2009) Chemical reactions at aqueous interfaces. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechETD:etd-03162009-190807

Abstract

Interfaces or phase boundaries are a unique chemical environment relative to individual gas, liquid, or solid phases. Interfacial reaction mechanisms and kinetics are often at variance with homogeneous chemistry due to mass transfer, molecular orientation, and catalytic effects. Aqueous interfaces are a common subject of environmental science and engineering research, and three environmentally relevant aqueous interfaces are investigated in this thesis: 1) fluorochemical sonochemistry (bubble-water), 2) aqueous aerosol ozonation (gas-water droplet), and 3) electrolytic hydrogen production and simultaneous organic oxidation (water-metal/semiconductor). Direct interfacial analysis under environmentally relevant conditions is difficult, since most surface-specific techniques require relatively ‘extreme’ conditions. Thus, the experimental investigations here focus on the development of chemical reactors and analytical techniques for the completion of time/concentration-dependent measurements of reactants and their products. Kinetic modeling, estimations, and/or correlations were used to extract information on interfacially relevant processes. We found that interfacial chemistry was determined to be the rate-limiting step to a subsequent series of relatively fast homogeneous reactions, for example: 1) Pyrolytic cleavage of the ionic headgroup of perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) adsorbed to cavitating bubble-water interfaces during sonolysis was the rate-determining step in transformation to their inorganic constituents carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and fluoride; 2) ozone oxidation of aqueous iodide to hypoiodous acid at the aerosol-gas interface is the rate-determining step in the oxidation of bromide and chloride to dihalogens; 3) Electrolytic oxidation of anodic titanol surface groups is rate-limiting for the overall oxidation of organics by the dichloride radical. We also found chemistry unique to the interface, for example: 1) Adsorption of dilute PFOS(aq) and PFOA(aq) to acoustically cavitating bubble interfaces was greater than equilibrium expectations due to high-velocity bubble radial oscillations; 2) Relative ozone oxidation kinetics of aqueous iodide, sulfite, and thiosulfate were at variance with previously reported bulk aqueous kinetics; 3) Organics that directly chelated with the anode surface were oxidized by direct electron transfer, resulting in immediate carbon dioxide production but slower overall oxidation kinetics. Chemical reactions at aqueous interfaces can be the rate-limiting step of a reaction network and often display novel mechanisms and kinetics as compared to homogeneous chemistry.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:air; aqueous; bromine; bromine chlorine; chemistry; chlorine; electrochemistry; fluorochemical; hydrogen; interface; interfacial; marine; oxidation; ozone; PFOA; PFOS; phenol; photovoltaic; pyrolysis; pyrolysis; reaction; solar; sonolysis; ultrasound; water
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Environmental Science and Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Hoffmann, Michael R.
Thesis Committee:
  • McKoy, Basil Vincent (chair)
  • Beauchamp, Jesse L.
  • Hoffmann, Michael R.
  • Lewis, Nathan Saul
Defense Date:13 March 2009
Author Email:vecitis (AT) caltech.edu
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-03162009-190807
Persistent URL:http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechETD:etd-03162009-190807
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:972
Collection:CaltechTHESIS
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:27 Apr 2009
Last Modified:01 May 2013 19:22

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