Iron Oxide and Montmorillonite as Surfaces For Environmentally Persistent Free Radical Formation

Graduation Date


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


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Director of the Honors Program

Lynn Sondag, MFA

First Reader

Randall Hall, PhD

Second Reader

Kenneth Frost, PhD


Dioxins and related compounds, such as biphenyls and furans, are toxic byproducts of incineration or hazardous dumping. Metal oxides are naturally found in the environment and non-volatile. When these compounds are bound to carbonaceous material, they can interact with aromatic compounds and become the precursors to dioxins known as environmentally persistent free radicals (EPFR’s). Using the processing power of computers, we were able to studying the conformations and charge distribution of various EPFR’s and gain insight to a possible electron transfer trend that can explain how these compounds are formed. From the results in this experiment, we can infer that electrons are transferred from a metal oxide surface to a phenoxyl group to form EPFR’s. More surfaces need to be studied in order to gain a better understanding of the electron transfer that occurs with different surface compositions and surface configurations. Also, collaborations with other experimentalist regarding the accuracy of surface configurations and computational results is necessary to formulate a proper binding mechanism in the future.

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