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International Journal of Photoenergy
Volume 7, Issue 2, Pages 71-78

Degradation of octylbenzene sulfonate photoinduced by iron(III) aquacomplexes: Evidence for the fragmentation of the alkyl chain

1Laboratoire des Sciences et Technologies de l'Environnement, Université de Mentouri, Constantine 25000, Algeria
2Laboratoire de Photochimie Moléculaire et Macromoléculaire, Université Blaise Pascal, UMR CNRS 6505, Aubière Cedex F-63177, France

Copyright © 2005 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The degradation of octylbenzene sulfonate (OBS) photoinduced by iron(III) aquacomplexes was investigated upon irradiation at 365 nm and by solar light. The photochemical degradation appears to be due to HO radicals arising from the electron transfer in Fe(OH)2+. If oxygen does not affect the initial quantum yield of OBS degradation, it is necessary to pursue the reaction up to, first the complete disappearance of OBS and secondly OBS mineralization. The nature of the major photoproducts gives evidence for a competitive attack of HO radicals on the alkyl chain resulting in a shortening of the chain. Among the possible sites on the chain, hydrogen on the carbon in α position with respect to the aromatic ring was the main point of attack with the formation of 4-acetylbenzene sulfonate and 4-carboxylicbenzene sulfonate.