Chemical and Biological Engineering ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 12-14-2016


Electrochemical oxidation is a common method for the degradation of chemicals by applying potential at a definite value. In this research, ‘cyclic voltammetry’ experiments were conducted to find out the oxidation potential for 8 different pharmaceuticals. Mainly, 3 different pH solutions (pH 6.0, 7.5, 9.0) and 9 different concentrations (1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 µM) were studied for each of the pharmaceuticals in this experiments. Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, Naproxen Sodium, Caffeine showed oxidation peak at 0.34-0.79V, 1.37- 1.39V, 0.94-1.01V, 1.44-1.55V respectively at different pH and concentrations. Antibiotic and antihistamine pharmaceuticals i.e. Erythromycin Hydrate, Triclosan, Sulfanilamide, Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride showed oxidation peak at 0.91-1.19V, 0.58-1.03V, 0.86-1.11V, 0.79-1.22V respectively at different pH and concentrations. The oxidation potential varies with both pH and concentration for every pharmaceutical. The chronoamperometry experiments were performed to determine the relationship between the concentration of the pharmaceuticals and the current. The sensor curves have been developed from the data of the chronoamperometry experiments. To observe the electrochemical degradation, the potential (higher than the oxidation potential found by the cyclic voltammetry experiments) have been applied to the pharmaceutical solutions and samples were collected at different time from the solutions during the period of applying potential. The samples were then analyzed in HPLC instrument. Triclosan and Sulfanilamide have shown successful degradation. The 1st order reaction constants are 0.0039 min-1 and 0.0148 min-1 for the degradation of sulfanilamide and Triclosan respectively.


Electrochemical oxidation, degradation, pharmaceuticals, electrooxidation

Document Type




Degree Name

Chemical Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Chemical and Biological Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Prof. Plamen B. Atanassov

Second Committee Member

Prof. Eva Chi

Third Committee Member

Dr. Carlo Santoro