Supercritical water oxidation of ion exchange resins: degradation mechanisms

Abstract : Spent ion exchange resins are radioactive process wastes for which there is no satisfactory industrial treatment. Supercritical water oxidation could offer a viable treatment alternative to destroy the organic structure of resins and contain radioactivity. IER degradation experiments were carried out in a continuous supercritical water reactor. Total organic carbon degradation rates in the range of 95-98% were obtained depending on operating conditions. GC-MS chromatography analyses were carried out to determine intermediate products formed during the reaction. Around 50 species were identified for cationic and anionic resins. Degradation of polystyrenic structure leads to the formation of low molecular weight compounds. Benzoic acid, phenol and acetic acid are the main compounds. However, other products are detected in appreciable yields such as phenolic species or heterocycles, for anionic IERs degradation. Intermediates produced by intramolecular rearrangements are also obtained. A radical degradation mechanism is proposed for each resin. In this overall mechanism, several hypotheses are foreseen, according to HOOradical dot radical attack sites.
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A. Leybros, A. Roubaud, Pierrette Guichardon, Olivier Boutin. Supercritical water oxidation of ion exchange resins: degradation mechanisms. Process Safety and Environmental Protection, Elsevier, 2010, 88 (3), pp.213-222. 〈10.1016/j.psep.2009.11.001〉. 〈hal-01025162〉

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