Development of linear free energy relationships for aqueous phase radical-involved chemical reactions

Document Type


Publication Date



Aqueous phase advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) produce hydroxyl radicals (HO•) which can completely oxidize electron rich organic compounds. The proper design and operation of AOPs require that we predict the formation and fate of the byproducts and their associated toxicity. Accordingly, there is a need to develop a first-principles kinetic model that can predict the dominant reaction pathways that potentially produce toxic byproducts. We have published some of our efforts on predicting the elementary reaction pathways and the HO• rate constants. Here we develop linear free energy relationships (LFERs) that predict the rate constants for aqueous phase radical reactions. The LFERs relate experimentally obtained kinetic rate constants to quantum mechanically calculated aqueous phase free energies of activation. The LFERs have been applied to 101 reactions, including (1) HO• addition to 15 aromatic compounds; (2) addition of molecular oxygen to 65 carbon-centered aliphatic and cyclohexadienyl radicals; (3) disproportionation of 10 peroxyl radicals, and (4) unimolecular decay of nine peroxyl radicals. The LFERs correlations predict the rate constants within a factor of 2 from the experimental values for HO• reactions and molecular oxygen addition, and a factor of 5 for peroxyl radical reactions. The LFERs and the elementary reaction pathways will enable us to predict the formation and initial fate of the byproducts in AOPs. Furthermore, our methodology can be applied to other environmental processes in which aqueous phase radical-involved reactions occur.

Publisher's Statement

Copyright © 2014, American Chemical Society. Publisher's version of record: https://doi.org/10.1021/es504491z

Publication Title

Environmental Science & Technology