The influence of pH on the degradation of phenol and chlorophenols by potassium ferrate

Nigel Graham*, Cheng Chun Jiang, Xiang Zhong Li, Jia-Qian Jiang, Jun Ma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

176 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents information concerning the influence of solution pH on the aqueous reaction between potassium ferrate and phenol and three chlorinated phenols: 4-chlorophenol (CP), 2,4-dichlorophenol (DCP), 2,4,6-trichlorophenol (TCP). The redox potential and aqueous stability of the ferrate ion, and the reactivity of dissociating compounds, are known to be pH dependent. Laboratory tests have been undertaken over a wide range of pH (5.8-11) and reactant concentrations (ferrate:compound molar ratios of 1:1 to 8:1). The reactivity of trichloroethylene was also investigated as a reference compound owing to its non-dissociating nature. The extent of compound degradation by ferrate was found to be highly pH dependent, and the optimal pH (maximum degradation) decreased in the order: phenol/CP, DCP, TCP; at the optimal pH the degree of degradation of these compounds was similar. The results indicate that for the group of phenol and chlorophenols studied, the presence of an increasing number of chlorine substituent atoms corresponds to an increasing reactivity of the undissociated compound, and a decreasing reactivity of the dissociated compound.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)949-956
Number of pages8
Issue number10
Early online date7 Jul 2004
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Chlorophenols
  • Oxidation
  • Phenols
  • Potassium ferrate
  • Trichloroethylene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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