Reduction of Perchlorate and Nitrate by Aluminum Activated by pH Change and Electrochemically Induced Pitting Corrosion.
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Highly oxidized species like perchlorate and nitrate that are released into the environment by anthropogenic activities are a source of concern as they have been known to contaminate groundwater. These species are extremely soluble in water and can migrate through aquifer systems, travelling substantial distances from the original site of contamination. Due to their high solubility, these oxy-anions cannot be treated using conventional treatment processes like filtration and sedimentation. Several treatment technologies are currently available to abate the human health risk due to exposure to perchlorate and nitrate. However, most of the existing treatment processes are expensive or have limitations, like generation of brines with high concentrations of perchlorate or nitrate. Aluminum can effectively reduce perchlorate and nitrate, if the protective oxide film that separates the thermodynamically reactive Al0 from most environments is removed. Aluminum was activated by pH change and electrochemically induced, pitting corrosion to remove the passivating oxide layer and expose the underlying, thermodynamically reactive, zero-valent aluminum. A partially oxidized species of aluminum, like monovalent aluminum, is believed to bring about the reduction of perchlorate and nitrate. This research studied the reduction of perchlorate and nitrate by aluminum that was activated by these two mechanisms. Results indicated that aluminum activated by pH change resulted in an instantaneous decrease in perchlorate concentration without any increase in chlorate or chloride concentrations, which suggests that the perchlorate might be adsorbed on the aluminum oxide surface. However, aluminum activated by electrochemically induced pitting corrosion can effectively reduce perchlorate to chlorate. Nitrate, on the other hand, was reduced completely to ammonia by both treatment mechanisms. The studies conducted in this dissertation suggest that aluminum can be effectively used as a reducing agent to develop a treatment process to reduce perchlorate and nitrate.
Raut Desai, Aditya B. (2010). Reduction of Perchlorate and Nitrate by Aluminum Activated by pH Change and Electrochemically Induced Pitting Corrosion.. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from