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Study of the process of phenanthrene degradation in a cavitated liquid environment

Joanna SZULŻYK-CIEPLAK – Institute of the Fundamentals of Technology, Faculty of the Fundamentals of Technology, Lublin University of Technology, Janusz OZONEK – Institute of Environmental Protection Engineering, Faculty of Environmental Engineering, Lublin University of Technology, Poland

Please cite as: CHEMIK 2013, 67, 10, 1003–1010 Introduction

The development of industry as well as the increasing production of chemical compounds critical for the manufacture of daily use commodities have contributed to high levels of hazardous substances in the natural environment and, by the same token, to greater exposure to their negative impact of living organisms. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) [11, 21] are among the most widespread xenobiotics in the natural environment. Due to their polycyclic structure, the said contaminants show poor degradability and negative effects on living organisms [13, 24]. Surface water pollution with PAHs often derives from uncontrolled industrial and domestic wastewater discharge as well as leachates from municipal landills. In addition, as shown in studies, also treated wastewater and sludge accumulated in receiving surface bodies contain a signiicant content of PAHs [3, 4].

In view of the above, it is vital to streamline the efforts to launch more effective sewage treatment methods. Multi-step technologies offer a promising solution for the treatment of wastewater containing durable and poorly biodegradable compounds [6, 9]. The irst step consists in puriication by physicochemical means of the streams found to be the most contaminated, whilst the inal step involves biological treatment of wastewater.

Among physicochemical methods, advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) prove to be the most effective. The said methods rely on the reactions with highly reactive hydroxyl radicals and typically ensure a high rate of contaminant disintegration as well as good effectiveness in the degratation of poorly biodegradable compounds [14, 16]. In spite of numerous advantages, methods based on advanced oxidation processes applied in wastewater treatment have been implemented in Poland to a very limited extent. This is associated with the signiicant costs of the deployment of the said processes, on the one hand, and lack of economic justiication for their introduction, on the other. Technologies developed on the basis of hydrodynamic cavitation must be assessed against this background [15, 22, 23]. By virtue of lower process costs and a less complex structure of reactors, hydrodynamic cavitation comes to the fore as the prospective method for the degradation of organic contaminants found in wastewater [2, 10].

The mechanism behind the phenomenon of hydrodynamic cavitation is the formation, growth and subsequent collapse of cavitation bubbles in the lowing liquid. Cavitation bubble implosion is accompanied by a host of physicochemical phenomena (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1. Physicochemical effects within cavitation zone

Research dedicated to the phenomenon of cavitation, both acoustic (ultrasonic) and hydrodynamic in the processes of advanced oxidation, has been the subject of growing attention over the past years [15]. The indings of the studies performed point to its high effectiveness in the treatment and disinfection of water [1, 7], sewage [5, 19, 20] and sludge treatment [8].

Method and laboratory station

Subjected to laboratory examinations was a tricyclic compound of the group of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – phenanthrene. Phenanthrene has the lowest molecular weight among PAHs that have the so-called bay-area and its structure evinces a cancerogenic effect (e.g., benzo(a)pyrene). Hence, it serves as a standard compound in the research concerning the metabolism of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons with a more complex structure [18]. Investigated in our study were standard phenanthrene solutions in distilled water of the reference substance (97%, Fluka Analytical). Three initial concentrations were set at, respectively, 5.50 and 500 mg/dm3.

Fig. 2. Phenanthrene chemical structure

A static hydrodynamic cavitation reactor has been used (Photo. 1). In this type of reactor, cavitation is induced by means of positioning a dedicated element in the low path, namely, the so-called cavitation inductor.

nr 10/2013 • tom 67

• 1007

Photo 1. Hydrodynamic cavitation reactor

XIV Conference Environmental

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