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Published July 1, 2006 | Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

TiO_2-Photocatalyzed As(III) Oxidation in a Fixed-Bed, Flow-Through Reactor


Compliance with the U.S. drinking water standard for arsenic (As) of 10 μg L^(-1) is required in January 2006. This will necessitate implementation of treatment technologies for As removal by thousands of water suppliers. Although a variety of such technologies is available, most require preoxidation of As(III) to As(V) for efficient performance. Previous batch studies with illuminated TiO_2 slurries have demonstrated that TiO_2-photocatalyzed As(III) oxidation occurs rapidly. This study examined reaction efficiency in a flow-through, fixed-bed reactor that provides a better model for treatment in practice. Glass beads were coated with mixed P25/sol gel TiO_2 and employed in an upflow reactor irradiated from above. The reactor residence time, influent As(III) concentration, number of TiO_2 coatings on the beads, solution matrix, and light source were varied to characterize this reaction and determine its feasibility for water treatment. Repeated usage of the same beads in multiple experiments or extended use was found to affect effluent As(V) concentrations but not the steady-state effluent As(III) concentration, which suggests that As(III) oxidation at the TiO_2 surface undergoes dynamic sorption equilibration. Catalyst poisoning was not observed either from As(V) or from competitively adsorbing anions, although the higher steady-state effluent As(III) concentrations in synthetic groundwater compared to 5 mM NaNO_3 indicated that competitive sorbates in the matrix partially hinder the reaction. A reactive transport model with rate constants proportional to incident light at each bead layer fit the experimental data well despite simplifying assumptions. TiO_2-photocatalyzed oxidation of As(III) was also effective under natural sunlight. Limitations to the efficiency of As(III) oxidation in the fixed-bed reactor were attributable to constraints of the reactor geometry, which could be overcome by improved design. The fixed-bed TiO_2 reactor offers an environmentally benign method for As(III) oxidation.

Additional Information

© 2006 American Chemical Society. Received for review December 12, 2005. Revised manuscript received April 27, 2006. Accepted May 1, 2006. Publication Date (Web): June 1, 2006. We thank Melany Hunt and Norman Brooks for helpful discussions regarding characterization of the flow-through reactor. Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship program and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Science to Achieve Results program (91596201-0).

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