Carbon isotopic fractionation of CFCs during abiotic and biotic degradation

Marie E Archbold, Trevor Elliot, Robert M Kalin

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Abstract

Carbon stable isotope ((13)C) fractionation in chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) compounds arising from abiotic (chemical) degradation using zero-valent iron (ZVI) and biotic (landfill gas attenuation) processes is investigated. Batch tests (at 25 °C) for CFC-113 and CFC-11 using ZVI show quantitative degradation of CFC-113 to HCFC-123a and CFC-1113 following pseudo-first-order kinetics corresponding to a half-life (τ(1/2)) of 20.5 h, and a ZVI surface-area normalized rate constant (k(SA)) of -(9.8 ± 0.5) × 10(-5) L m(-2) h(-1). CFC-11 degraded to trace HCFC-21 and HCFC-31 following pseudo-first-order kinetics corresponding to τ(1/2) = 17.3 h and k(SA) = -(1.2 ± 0.5) × 10(-4) L m(-2) h(-1). Significant kinetic isotope effects of ε(‰) = -5.0 ± 0.3 (CFC-113) and -17.8 ± 4.8 (CFC-11) were observed. Compound-specific carbon isotope analyses also have been used here to characterize source signatures of CFC gases (HCFC-22, CFC-12, HFC-134a, HCFC-142b, CFC-114, CFC-11, CFC-113) for urban (UAA), rural/remote (RAA), and landfill (LAA) ambient air samples, as well as in situ surface flux chamber (FLUX; NO FLUX) and landfill gas (LFG) samples at the Dargan Road site, Northern Ireland. The latter values reflect biotic degradation and isotopic fractionation in LFG production, and local atmospheric impact of landfill emissions through the cover. Isotopic fractionations of Δ(13)C ∼ -13‰ (HCFC-22), Δ(13)C ∼ -35‰ (CFC-12) and Δ(13)C ∼ -15‰ (CFC-11) were observed for LFG in comparison to characteristic solvent source signatures, with the magnitude of the isotopic effect for CFC-11 apparently similar to the kinetic isotope effect for (abiotic) ZVI degradation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1764-1773
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume46
Issue number3
Early online date21 Dec 2011
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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Keywords

  • abiotic degradation
  • biotic degradation
  • kinetics
  • carbon isotope
  • air samples

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