Mechanism Involving Hydrogen Sulfite Ions, Chlorite Ions, and Hypochlorous Acid as Key Intermediates of the Autocatalytic Chlorine Dioxide-Thiourea Dioxide Reaction

Ying Hu, Attila K. Horváth, Sasa Duan, György Csekö, Sergei V. Makarov, Qingyu Gao

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The kinetics of the chlorine dioxide-thiourea dioxide reaction was investigated by monitoring absorbance-time profiles at λ = 360 nm. Under acidic conditions, the primary carbon-containing product is cyanamide, not urea as considered previously for many oxidation reactions of thiourea dioxide. Increase of the rate of the reaction by an increase of pH can be readily explained by the slow pH-dependent formation of a more reactive form of thiourea dioxide (TDO) that is produced steadily and unavoidably as the stock TDO solution ages. We have also found that the absorbance-time profiles of the chlorine dioxide-TDO reaction are sigmoidal with excess TDO. The addition of methionine as a hypochlorous acid scavenging agent inhibits the reaction significantly, whereas the addition of chlorite ions and trace amounts of hydrogen sulfite ions accelerates the decay of chlorine dioxide. On the basis of these experiments, a sixteen-step kinetic model involving hypochlorous acid, chlorite ions, and hydrogen sulfite ions as key intermediates that provide an autocatalytic cycle is proposed to account for the overall kinetic behavior observed, including the slow rearrangement of TDO.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5011-5020
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Inorganic Chemistry
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2015



  • Autocatalysis
  • Kinetics
  • Oxides
  • Reaction mechanisms
  • Reactive intermediates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Inorganic Chemistry

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