Experimental study of nitrobenzene degradation in water by strong ionization dielectric barrier discharge

Nitrobenzene (NB) is toxic and carcinogenic aromatic compound widely used in several industries which is ultimately found in their effluents. In this work, dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) reactor was employed for the degradation of nitrobenzene in aqueous solution. Active species like O3 and OH produced by DBD reactor were mixed with water which degraded the NB. The results indicated that the lower NB concentrations slightly acidic conditions and high voltage ranges showed the optimum efficiencies. Moreover, the impacts of active species inhibitors isopropyl alcohol (IPA), tert-butanol (TBA), inorganic ions for instance sulfates (SO42), bicarbonates (HCO3), nitrates (NO3), carbonates (CO32) and chlorides (Cl) on the degradation of NB were examined. This analysis showed that the hydroxyl radical was captured by the addition of these inhibitors and resulted in the decrease in efficiencies. Byproducts produced during the degradation of nitrobenzene were assessed by analytical techniques of high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC–MS), UV–visible spectroscopy and total organic carbon (TOC) analysis. Main intermediate products were nitrophenols and low molecular weight organic acids including oxalic acid and acetic acid that were eventually mineralized to CO2 and H2O. The dielectric barrier discharge technology was found productive for the degradation of nitroaromatic compounds.