The chemical oxidation of phenol and chlorophenols with hydrogen peroxide in the presence of soluble iron can be economically attractive at low oxidant consumption, leading then to intermediates that are more easily biodegradable. The homogeneous oxidation of phenol and chlorophenols in aqueous solutions with hydrogen peroxide is studied at oxidant : phenol ratio of about 4:1 and 16:1 (mol/mol) at various catalyst concentrations, at ambient temperature without pH control. Ferric chloride, ferric and ferrous sulphate and ferrous ammonium sulphate are used as oxidation catalysts. Ferric salts induce higher oxidation rates than ferrous ones and the nature of the anions present does not affect reaction rate. 4-Chlorophenol is found to be most resistant to oxidation and 2,4,6-Trichlorophenol is not attacked by hydrogen peroxide in the presence of ferric ions at the experimental conditions studied.

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