Degradation of methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) in aqueous solution by Fenton's reagent (Fe2+ and H2O2) was investigated. Effects of reaction conditions on the oxidation efficiency of MTBE by Fenton's reagent were examined in batch experiments. Under optimum conditions, 15 mM H2O2, 2 mM Fe2+, pH 2.8 and room temperature, the initial 1 mM MTBE solution was reduced by 99% within 120 min. Results showed that MTBE was decomposed in a two-stage reaction. MTBE was first decomposed swiftly based on a Fe2+/H2O2 reaction and then decomposed somewhat less rapidly based on a Fe 3+/H2O2 reaction. The detection of Fe 2+ also supported the theory of the two-stage reaction for the oxidation of MTBE by Fenton's reagent. The dissolved oxygen in the solution decreased rapidly in the first stage reaction, but it showed a slow increase in the second stage with a zero-order kinetics. A reaction mechanism involving two different pathways for the decomposition of MTBE by Fenton's reagent was also proposed. Chemicals including tert-butyl formate, tert-butyl alcohol, methyl acetate and acetone were identified to be the primary intermediates and by-products of the degradation processes.
- Fenton's reagent
- Hydroxyl radical