Non-radical activation of H2O2 by surface-disordered WO3 for efficient and selective pollutant degradation with weak matrix effects

  • Ai-Yong ZhangEmail author
  • Pin-Cheng Zhao
  • Yuan-Yi He
  • Yang Zhou
  • Jing-Wei FengEmail author
Research Article


Heterogeneous catalysis is promising for water treatment. Solid catalysts play governing roles. Herein, the surface-disordered WO3, D-WO3, engineered with surface and sub-surface defective sites from NaBH4 reduction was proven to be an effective catalyst for H2O2 activation. The defective degree and defects amount on WO3 were regulated by NaBH4. More than 95% of two typical azo dyes, RhB and MG, were selectively degraded in D-WO3/H2O2 system during 3.0 h, while no significant activity was observed for MO as well as bisphenol A, roxarsone, phenol, 4-chlorophenol, p-nitrophenol, o-aminophenol, urea, and 2,4-dichlorophenol in comparison under the identical conditions (mainly less than 20%). Both ESR and radical scavenging tests indicated the minor role of ·OH from H2O2 activation on D-WO3. The superior activity of D-WO3 could be mainly attributed to the surface and sub-surface defects with finely tailored local atomic configurations and electronic structures of central metal sites. Surface and sub-surface defective sites could serve as the reactive sites of interfacial adsorption, dissociative activation, and catalytic decomposition for both oxidant and pollutants, with high adsorption energy, strong structural activation, and superior catalytic activity. Our findings provided a new chance for non-selective radical catalysis based on transition metal oxides and a promising catalyst with high performance, low cost, and no toxicity for pollutant degradation with weak matrix effects in wastewater and surface water.


H2O2 oxidation WO3 Surface-disordering Non-radical mechanism Water matrix effect 


Funding information

This work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21876040), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (PA2019GDQT0010), the Anhui Provincial Natural Science Foundation (1708085MB52), and the special funds from State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse (PCRRF17003) and State Key Joint Laboratory of Environment Simulation and Pollution Control (18K09ESPCT).

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (DOCX 5569 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Municipal Engineering, School of Civil and Hydraulic EngineeringHefei University of TechnologyHefeiChina

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