Thermal Plasma Decomposition of Tetrachloroethylene
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Tetrachloroethylene (C2Cl4) has been used widely as a solvent and dry cleaning agent, but was later specified as possible human carcinogen. As a result, its safe treatment became a priority. In this paper, we report on its decomposition in an atmospheric radiofrequency thermal plasma reactor. Main components of the exhaust gases were determined by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. We found that complete decomposition can be achieved in either oxidative or reductive conditions but not in neutral one. The solid soot product was characterised by transmission electron microscopy and specific surface area measurement. Organic compounds adsorbed on the surface of the soot were extracted by toluene and comprised, based on gas chromatography mass spectrometry, of various perchlorinated aliphatic (for example hexachlorocyclopentadiene) and aromatic compounds (like hexachlorobenzene, octachloronaphthalene or octachloroacenaphthylene). Several nitrogen containing molecules were also identified whose presence are rare during thermal plasma treatments. Further investigation of the extract by mass spectrometry revealed various higher molar mass chlorinated carbon clusters and two types of fullerenes (C60 and C70).
KeywordsTetrachloroethylene Thermal decomposition Radiofrequency thermal plasma Waste management
The authors are grateful to Miklós Prodán and Gábor Babos for their technical assistance. Furthermore, we would like to thank Csaba Németh and Péter Németh for their contribution to the FT-IR and TEM measurements, respectively.
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