Thermal Decomposition of Substituted Phenols in Supercritical Water

Christopher J. Martino, Phillip E. Savage

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The thermal decomposition of cresols, hydroxybenzaldehydes, nitrophenols, and benzenediols was studied in dilute aqueous solutions and in the absence of oxygen at 460°C and 250 atm for residence times around 10 s. Thermolysis under these conditions produced conversions of less than 10% for o-, m-, and p-cresol, whereas hydroxybenzaldehydes and nitrophenols were much more reactive. Global rate expressions are reported for the thermolysis of each hydroxybenzaldehyde and nitrophenol isomer. Phenol was a major product from the decomposition of all of the substituted phenols studied. For a given substituent, ortho-substituted phenols reacted more rapidly than the other isomers. For a given substituted position, nitrophenols reacted more rapidly than hydroxybenzaldehydes, which in turn reacted more rapidly than cresols. These results demonstrate that the treatment of CHO- and NO2-substituted phenols by oxidation in supercritical water will involve the oxidation of thermal decomposition products in addition to the oxidation of the original compounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1385-1390
Number of pages6
JournalIndustrial and Engineering Chemistry Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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