An important reaction step in the industrial production of NaClO3 (electrochemical chlorate process) is the thermal decomposition of HOCl/OCl- to yield ClO3 - and Cl-. It is widely accepted that this reaction is accelerated by aqueous chromium(vi) species. A detailed kinetic study was conducted under industrially relevant conditions, i.e. at high ionic strength (6.0 M) and elevated temperature (80 °C), to investigate this phenomenon. The decomposition of hypochlorous acid was followed in the presence of Cr(vi) or phosphate (PO4 3-) or without any additive. In addition to the beneficial pH buffering effect of Cr(vi), the CrO4 2- form of chromium(vi) was found to slightly catalyze the decomposition of hypochlorous acid. The overall rate of HOCl decomposition can be expressed as -dcHOCl/dt = kdec[HOCl]2[OCl-] + kcat[HOCl]2[CrO4 2-]. The corresponding rate constants were determined, kdec = 9.4 ± 0.1 M-2 s-1 and kcat = 4.6 ± 0.8 M-2 s-1, and mechanistic interpretation of the catalytic rate law is given. The contribution of the catalytic path to the overall rate of decomposition changes from ca. 30% at pH = 8 to ca. 70% at pH = 6.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Inorganic Chemistry