The radiolytic degradation of 4-hydroxybenzoate (4-HBA) in aerated, oxygen-free and N2O-saturated aqueous solutions at concentrations of 0.10 and 0.25 mmol/dm3 were gamma irradiated at different doses in a source of Co-60. The results show that ·OH adds predominantly to the third position of the aromatic ring, and elimination of the acid group leads to the degradation of 4-HBA. With an N2O-saturated 0.10 mmol/dm3 4-HBA solution, total degradation occurred at 1.6 kGy, and with a 0.25 mmol/dm3 solution, total degradation occurred at 3.5 kGy. In the aerated and oxygen-free 0.25 mmol/dm3 4-HBA solutions, the behavior was similar, degradation occurring at a dose of 13.1 kGy. At the concentration of 0.10 mmol/dm3, total degradation occurred at 7.0 kGy, with small amounts of radiolytic products and byproducts. We propose a mechanism for the degradation of 4-HBA caused by water radicals produced in the three environments, leading to formation of the identified stable products. Oxidation was followed by chemical oxygen demand (COD), which decreased as the 4-HBA concentration increased. The kinetics showed a pseudo-first-order behavior. The rate constant of degradation was similar for the solutions with and without oxygen.

  • Study of radiolytic degradation of 4-hydroxybenzoate in aqueous solutions.

  • Distribution of radiolitic products from the degradation of 4-hydroxybenzoate in aqueous solutions.

  • Formation and degradation of primary and secondary products from irradiated 4-hydroxybenzoate.

  • Degradation kinetics, mechanisms, and chemical oxygen demand in the degradation of 4-HBA.

  • Mechanistic scheme for gamma radiation degradation of 4-hydroxybenzoate.

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