National Research Council of Canada. NRC Biotechnology Research Institute
electrochemistry; electrodes (boron-doped diamond); explosives; water treatment
Electrochemical oxidation at boron-doped diamond (BDD) electrodes was examined as a possible technique for the remediation of water contaminated with nitramine explosives. The advantage of BDD is that it promotes indirect oxidation by electrogenerated active intermediates, such as hydroxyl radicals. For the three explosives RDX, HMX, and CL-20, degradation in both acetonitrile/water mixtures and in water alone was suggested to involve an initial denitration, followed by spontaneous decomposition of the molecules, the net result being the complete transformation of the nitramines to small molecules. Although the rate of degradation increased with current density, the current efficiency was highest at low current densities.