Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering - (M.S.)


Chemical Engineering and Chemistry

First Advisor

Trattner, Richard B.

Second Advisor

Perna, Angelo J.

Third Advisor

Kimmel, Howard S.


The photolysis of p-xylene in several aqueous solutions was studied as a model for removing refractory organic pollutants from water, and to demonstrate that photochemical reaction of these compounds may be an important factor in their degradation in the environment.

Solutions of p-xylene in deaerated water, water saturated with oxygen, 0.05M sodium phosphate tribasic, 0.1M sodium nitrate and 3.28X10-4M ferric sulfate were exposed to ultraviolet and visible radiation. p-Xylene in 3.28X10-4M ferric sulfate was also exposed to sunlight. The reaction rate was determined by measuring the disappearance of the p-xylene.

In all of the photolyses, except in the sodium nitrate solution, the major product was insoluable in water. The presence of oxygen and ferric sulfate increased the reaction rate while the sodium phosphate and sodium nitrate were found to slow down the reaction rate. p-xylene, which does not absorb radiation above 280 mp was found to undergo reaction when exposed to light of wavelengths greater than 280 mp when sodium nitrate or ferric sulfate was present. p-Xylene in ferric sulfate solution was found to undergo reaction when exposed to sunlight passing through ordinary window glass.



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