Date: 26 Nov 2011

Electrochemical oxidation of succinic acid in aqueous solutions using boron doped diamond anodes

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Abstract

In this work, the electrochemical oxidation of succinic acid on boron-doped diamond (BDD) anodes was investigated. Voltammetric study had shown that no peaks appeared in the region of electrolyte stability which indicates that succinic acid oxidation can take place at a potential close to the potential region of electrolyte oxidation. Galvanostatic electrolyses achieved total chemical oxygen demand (COD) removals and high mineralization yields under different operating conditions (initial COD, current density and nature of supporting electrolyte). Oxalic, glycolic and formic acids were the main intermediates detected during anodic oxidation of succinic acid on BDD electrode and carbon dioxide as the final product. The mean oxidation state of carbon reached the value of 4 at the end of electrolysis which is indicative of mineralization of almost all organics present in aqueous solution. The exponential profile of COD versus specific electrical charge has shown that mass transfer is the limiting factor for the kinetics of electrochemical process. A simple mechanism was proposed for the mineralization of succinic acid. First, hydroxyl radicals attack of succinic acid leading to formation of glycolic, glyoxylic, fumaric and maleic acids. Then, theses acids undergo rapid and non-selective oxidation by hydroxyl radicals to be transformed into oxalic and formic acids which leads to further oxidation steps to mineralize these acids into carbon dioxide and water.