We describe here a 4 hour experimental session based on reaction monitoring of the degradation of an organic pollutant via a Fenton-like reaction. An aqueous solution of p-nitrophenol is treated with hydrogen peroxide and magnetite, and the progress of the reaction is monitored by UV–vis spectrophotometry and/or gas chromatography using an internal standard. During that session, undergraduate students discovered a new scope of heterogeneous catalysis, namely, a green process for water depollution. Behind the simplicity of setting up the Fenton-like reaction, they were challenged by the requirements of replicability and precision of the quantitative tracking of the reaction. They appreciated being confronted with a realistic environmental problem and seeing what role catalysis and modern chemistry could play to tackle the issue.
« Water Depollution Control: A Gateway to Reaction Monitoring and Analytical Chemistry » Martin Tiano and Max Roose, Journal of Chemical Education 2022 99 (2), 941-945. DOI: 10.1021 /acs.jchemed.1c00572
(Available on ChemXriv : https://doi.org/10.26434/chemrxiv.14265104.v1)