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Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2013 Feb;20(2):907-16. doi: 10.1007/s11356-012-0997-7. Epub 2012 Jun 17.

Photoassisted and photocatalytic degradation of sulfur mustard using TiO2 nanoparticles and polyoxometalates.

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  • 1Defense Chemical Research Laboratory, Karaj, Iran.


The decomposition of highly toxic chemical warfare agent, sulfur mustard (bis(2-chloroethyl) sulfide or HD), has been studied by homogeneous photolysis and heterogeneous photocatalytic degradation on titania nanoparticles. Direct photolysis degradation of HD with irradiation system was investigated. The photocatalytic degradation of HD was investigated in the presence of TiO(2) nanoparticles and polyoxometalates embedded in titania nanoparticles in liquid phase at room temperature (33 ± 2 °C). Degradation products during the treatment were identified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Whereas apparent first-order kinetics of ultraviolet (UV) photolysis were slow (0.0091 min(-1)), the highest degradation rate is obtained in the presence of TiO(2) nanoparticles as nanophotocatalyst. Simultaneous photolysis and photocatalysis under the full UV radiation leads to HD complete destruction in 3 h. No degradation products observed in the presence of nanophotocatalyst without irradiation in 3 h. It was found that up to 90 % of agent was decomposed under of UV irradiation without TiO(2), in 6 h. The decontamination mechanisms are often quite complex and multiple mechanisms can be operable such as hydrolysis, oxidation, and elimination. By simultaneously carrying out photolysis and photocatalysis in hexane, we have succeeded in achieving faster HD decontamination after 90 min with low catalyst loading. TiO(2) nanoparticles proved to be a superior photocatalyst under UV irradiation for HD decontamination.

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