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REVISED VERSION

Decomposition of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene and


other industrial pollutants using pigment
derivatives and visible light
Benjamin Lukas

Introduction
TNT or trinitrotoluene is a yellow colored solid chemical which is made
of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen atoms with a formula of
C7H5N3O6. It is a highly explosive chemical but with a convenience
handling properties with a melting point of 80.35 C and a boiling point
of 240 C with a molecular mass of 227g/mol.
The explosive yield of TNT is considered as the standard explosive
strength for bombs and other explosives
C7H5N3O6
C7H5N3O6

7CO + 3N2 + 5H2O + 7C


3N2 + 5H2 + 12CO + 2C

Molecular Structure

Production
TNT is produce in industry by nitration process of toluene in three steps :
-

In the first step, toluene is nitrated with a H2SO4 mixture of and HNO3 to
produce mononitrotoluene ( MNT)
MNT is separated and renitrated in second step to produce dinitrotoluene
(DNT)
In the third step, DNT is reacted with anhydrous mixture of fuming nitric acid
and oleum to produce crude trinitrotoluene (Crude TNT)

Crude TNT is then purified by washing with Na2SO3 in order to remove less
stable isomers of TNT and unwanted products from TNT.
Pure TNT obtained from sulfitation process is then washed with water, the rinse
water is called the red water, a pollutant, which needs to be treated

PRODUCTION

Properties
There are 2 main properties:
1. TNT is Explosive
2. TNT is toxic causing:
- Skin irritation with the skin turn bright yellow
orange colors hence called cannary skin.
- Anemia
- Abnormality liver functions
- Reduced male fertility
- Probable carcinogen

Problems-Red Water
For every pound of TNT produced, 1.5
gallons of toxic/hazardous waste red
water is generated
Many countries have not made TNT
because of the difficulty and expensive in
treating red water.
An easy and inexpensive way to treat red
water is needed to allow for TNT
production.

Problems-Pink Water
Some countries have tons of unexploded outdated
TNT in storage
Demilitarization of these energetic explosives
produces millions of gallons of waste water called
pink water which must be treated before the water
can be released to environment of water treatment
facilities.
Current demilitarization explosives neutralization
procedures are expensive in both their hardware
and operating costs.

SOLUTION to the PROBLEMS


Treat red and pink water waste streams with
pigment derivative which act as photocatalyst to
destroy the hazardous compounds with the help
of visible light and air.
As photocatalyst is reuseable the cost of this is
very cheap.

DESIGN OF PHOTOCATALYST APARATUS

Photocatalyst molecules which are pigment


derivatives are fixed or immobilized on the
surface of transparent glass panel.
The panel can be mounted on a platform so that
it can be oriented to the sun for maximum
absorption
The waste water to be treated is drawn onto
panel by means of a pump.

HOW DOES A PHOTOCATALYST WORK?


Light is absorbed by the material. In our case,
blue and red light are absorbed by the catalyst
promoting the catalyst from its ground state to
excited state.
The activated catalyst then reacts with the O2 to
produce reactive oxygen species which reacts
with undesired compounds (pollutants) breaking
them down into harmless components..

Pollutants that can be broken down


to gases

TRI NITRO TOLUENE (TNT)


DI NITRO TOLUENE (DNT)
MONO NITRO TOLUENE (MNT)
BENZENE
TOLUENE
DINITROBENZENE
NITROBENZENE
PHENOL AND ITS DERs such as Hydroquinone etc

WHAT LIGHT SOURCES


CAN BE USED?

Other commercial catalyst can


only be activated using only
Blue light but for our catalysts Blue and Red
lights can be used at the same time.
The best light source is sunlight but other visible
light source such as any headlamp can also be
used.
The intensity of blue and red lights of sunlight
vary with time.