A Comparative Study on the Oxidation Mechanisms of Substituted Phenolic Pollutants by Ferrate(VI) through Experiments and Density Functional Theory Calculations. Academic Article uri icon


  • In this work, the oxidation of five phenolic contaminants by ferrate(VI) was comparatively investigated to explore the possible reaction mechanisms by combined experimental results and theoretical calculations. The second-order rate constants were positively correlated with the energy of the highest occupied molecular orbital. Considering electronic effects of different substituents, the easy oxidation of phenols by ferrate(VI) could be ranked as the electron-donating group (-R) > weak electron-withdrawing group (-X) > strong electron-withdrawing group (-(CO)-). The contributions of reactive species (Fe(VI), Fe(V)/(IV), and OH) were determined, and Fe(VI) was found to dominate the reaction process. Four main reaction mechanisms including single-oxygen transfer (SOT), double-oxygen transfer (DOT), OH attack, and electron-transfer-mediated coupling reaction were proposed for the ferrate(VI) oxidation process. According to density functional theory calculation results, the presence of -(CO)- was more conducive for the occurrence of DOT and OH attack reactions than -R and -X, while the tendency of SOT for different substituents was -R > -(CO)- > -X and that of e--transfer reaction was -R > -X > -(CO)-. Moreover, the DOT pathway was found in the oxidation of all four substituted phenols, indicating that it may be a common reaction mechanism during the ferrate(VI) oxidation of phenolic compounds.

published proceedings

  • Environ Sci Technol

author list (cited authors)

  • Wu, N., Liu, M., Tian, B., Wang, Z., Sharma, V. K., & Qu, R.

complete list of authors

  • Wu, Nannan||Liu, Mingzhu||Tian, Bingru||Wang, Zunyao||Sharma, Virender K||Qu, Ruijuan

publication date

  • October 2022