Degradation of phenolic aqueous solutions by high frequency sono-Fenton systems (US–Fe2O3/SBA-15–H2O2)
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The aim of this work is to establish the influence of different ultrasonic frequencies ranging from 20 to 1142 kHz on the efficiency of the US/Fe2O3/SBA-15/H2O2 (sono-Fenton) system. The frequency of 584 kHz has been established as the optimum ultrasonic irradiation for the degradation of aqueous phenol solutions by the sono-Fenton system and the effect of different variables, such as hydrogen peroxide concentration or catalyst loadings in the reaction was studied by factorial design of experiments. Catalyst loadings of 0.6 g/L and hydrogen peroxide concentration, close to the stoichiometric amount, show high organic mineralization, accompanied by excellent catalyst stability in a wide range of concentrations of aqueous phenol solutions (0.625–10 mM). Additionally, the catalyst can be easily recovered by filtration for reuse in subsequent reactions without appreciable loss of activity. The coupling of US (584 kHz)/Fe–SBA-15/H2O2 at room temperature is revealed as a promising technique for wastewater treatment. Additionally, a new sono-Fenton variant, the so-called latent remediation has also been studied, using ultrasonic irradiation only as pretreatment for 15 min in an attempt at reducing the cost of the degradation process. It has been observed that latent remediation provides TOC degradation of around 21% after 15 min sonication followed by 6 h silent reaction while the typical sono-Fenton reaction affords 29% TOC reduction after 6 h sonication.