M.Sc Thesis

M.Sc StudentVasilkov Natalya
SubjectDecontamination of Chemical Warfare Surrogates Using In-Situ
Photo-Oxidation Processes
DepartmentDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Supervisor ASSOCIATE PROF. Yael Dubowski


The threat of chemical and biological weapons attacks by terrorist organizations compelled different organizations to review the old decontamination methods and to develop new ones that can provide better results with less investment or environmental impact. The current research investigates the possibility of combining short UV radiation with ozone and relative humidity for the decontamination process. Ozone is generated in situ by photolysis of ambient oxygen and its own photolysis under humid conditions ought to produce free hydroxyl radicals (OH.). Malathion and trioctyl phosphate (TOF) were used as chemical warfare surrogates in the experiments. Different parameters were investigated during the experiments, such as lamp intensity, initial substance concentration, different relative humidity conditions and various surfaces. Gas chromatography analysis showed that the degradation rate of both surrogates was relatively fast, though the mineralization rate was much slower. A synergistic effect was observed between the ozone and the UV radiation. No degradation products were identified for TOF and in the case of malathion, only its toxic oxidation product malaoxon was detected. The present investigation shows that the proposed method has a potential to be an effective decontamination process at relatively low cost, but needs further development before it could be scaled up.