Electrolytic reduction of trichloroethylene and chloroform at a Pt- or Pd-coated ceramic cathode

G. Chen, E. A. Betterton, R. G. Arnold, W. P. Ela

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57 Scopus citations


Trichloroethylene (TCE) and chloroform (CF) were electrolytically dechlorinated in a two-compartment cell in which the working electrode (cathode) consisted of an Ebonex ceramic sheet plated with platinum (Pt) or palladium (Pd). The halogenated targets were not reduced using a cathode of untreated Ebonex. Under typical experimental conditions (e.g., cathode potentials Ec = -0.3 V to -1.4 V vs SHE, pH 7.0), transformations were first order in TCE and CF. Reaction kinetics were mass transport limited at Ec < -1.4 V. Transport-limited rate constants were 0.45 cm min-1 for TCE reduction and 0.42 cm min-1 for CF. The primary products of CF reduction were methane and hydrochloric acid. For TCE reduction, major products were ethane, ethylene and hydrochloric acid. Carbon and chlorine mass balances were within 5-10%. Current efficiencies ranged from nearly 100% at Ec = -0.5 V (both reactants) to 24.4% for TCE and 16.6% for CF at Ec = -l.4 V. Rate constants for TCE and CF transformations were inversely related to pH in the range 2 < pH < 11. Pt-Ebonex resisted sulfate and chloride poisoning. The Pd-Ebonex electrode quickly lost activity (50% loss in 5-10 min) in 0.1 M K2SO4 electrolyte (cathode potential, Ec = -1.15to -1.4 V vs SHE).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-169
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Electrochemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2003


  • Catalyst poisoning
  • Chloroform
  • Ebonex
  • Electrochemical reduction
  • Electrolytic dehalogenation
  • Palladium
  • Platinum
  • Trichloroethylene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Electrochemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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