The study of lag phase and rate improvement of TCE decay in UV/surfactant systems

Wei Chu, Wing Ki Choy

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The photodegradation of trichloroethene (TCE) in surfactant micelles was investigated. The decay of TCE was studied in the Rayonet RPR-200 merry-go- round photoreactor, at 253.7 nm monochromatic ultraviolet (UV) lamps, in the presence of surfactants. Surfactants are used as additional hydrogen sources to improve the photodegradation rates of TCE. About three times the rate increment is observed in the presence of Brij 35 surfactant micelles than in water alone. The increasing concentrations of H+and Cl-indicate that they are the final products of TCE photodegradation (i.e. photodechlorination is the dominant mechanism in this system). A lag phase is observed at the beginning of the degradation, but the duration of the lag phase is apparently reduced as the initial pH increases. Because the overall decay of TCE is also found faster at higher pH levels, it is suggested that the free radical reaction is dominant at high pH levels, and the formation of lag phases is mainly due to the deficiency of free radicals at lower pH levels. The photodecomposition of TCE in surfactant micelles is also proven to be a clean and effective process. It generates no chlorinated by-products or intermediates during the process, and TCE is fully decomposed within a reasonable time. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1199-1204
Number of pages6
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000


  • Photodegradation
  • Surfactant micelles
  • Trichloroethane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)


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