Iron oxides catalyze the conversion of hydrogen peroxide (H 2O2) into oxidants capable of transforming recalcitrant contaminants. Unfortunately, the process is relatively inefficient at circumneutral pH values because of competing reactions that decompose H 2O2 without producing oxidants. Silica- and alumina-containing iron oxides prepared by sol-gel processing of aqueous solutions containing Fe(ClO4)3, AlCl3, and tetraethyl orthosilicate efficiently catalyzed the decomposition of H 2O2 into oxidants capable of transforming phenol at circumneutral pH values. Relative to hematite, goethite, and amorphous FeOOH, the silica-iron oxide catalyst exhibited a stoichiometric efficiency, defined as the number of moles of phenol transformed per mole of H2O 2 consumed, which was 10-40 times higher than that of the iron oxides. The silica-alumina-iron oxide catalyst had a stoichiometric efficiency that was 50-80 times higher than that of the iron oxides. The significant enhancement in oxidant production is attributable to the interaction of Fe with Al and Si in the mixed oxides, which alters the surface redox processes, favoring the production of strong oxidants during H2O2 decomposition.

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Journal Environmental Science and Technology
Pham, A.L.T, Lee, C. (Changha), Doyle, F.M. (Fiona M.), & Sedlak, D.L. (David L.). (2009). A silica-supported iron oxide catalyst capable of activating hydrogen peroxide at neutral pH values. Environmental Science and Technology, 43(23), 8930–8935. doi:10.1021/es902296k