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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Degradation of explosives-related compounds using nickel catalysts.

We report the ability of nickel-based catalysts to degrade explosives compounds in aqueous solution. Several nickel catalysts completely degraded the explosives, although rates varied. Nearly all of the organic explosive compounds tested, including 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT), hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine ( RDX), and octahydro-1,3,5,7-tetranitro-1,3,5,7-tetrazocine (HMX), were rapidly degraded to below detection limits by a powdered nickel on an alumina-silicate support (Aldrich nickel catalyst). Perchlorate degradation was minimal (<25%). Degradation of TNT by Aldrich nickel catalyst resulted in apparent first-order kinetics. Significant gaseous (14)C was released and collected in an alkaline solution (most likely carbon dioxide) from [(14)C]RDX and [(14)C]HMX, indicating heterocyclic ring cleavage. Significant gaseous (14)C was not produced from [(14)C]TNT, but spectrophotometric evidence indicated loss of aromaticity. Degradation occurred in low ionic strength solutions, groundwater, and from pH 3 to pH 9. Degradation of TNT, RDX, and HMX was maintained in flow-through columns of Aldrich nickel catalyst mixed with sand down to a hydraulic retention time of 4h. These data indicate that nickel-based catalysts may be an effective means for remediation of energetics-contaminated groundwater.[1]


  1. Degradation of explosives-related compounds using nickel catalysts. Fuller, M.E., Schaefer, C.E., Lowey, J.M. Chemosphere (2007) [Pubmed]
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