The degradation of phenol (C6H5OH) was investigated under sonication, ozonation, and the combination of sonication and ozonation. The coupling of these two oxidation processes yielded phenol degradation kinetics that are similar to those predicted from the linear combination of the individual sonication and ozonation experiments. However, synergistic effects of sonolytic ozonation were observed for the reduction of the total organic carbon (TOC) in these systems. The rate of TOC decomposition was found to be proportional to both the aqueous steady-state ozone concentration and the ultrasonic power density. At 358 kHz, sonication combined with ozonation enhanced TOC loss rates by 43% over the sum of the rates obtained by the separate treatments. Intermediate species detected during the degradation of phenol indicate that while the primary degradation products are efficiently degraded by simple ozonolysis, the simultaneous addition of ultrasonic irradiation is necessary to degrade the more recalcitrant unsaturated daughter products.
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