The Fenton reaction in aerated aqueous solutions revisited

Sandra Rachmilovich-Calis, Alexandra Masarwa, Naomi Meyerstein, Dan Meyerstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The oxidation of alcohols in aerated acidic aqueous solutions by the Fenton reagent is a chain reaction. The length of the chain depends linearly on the number of CHnOR (n = 1 or 2) groups in the alcohol. The reaction is accelerated by increasing the concentration of Fe(H2O) 62+, but this cation is also active in at least one of the termination steps of the chain reaction. Addition of ethanol to a solution containing sucrose shortens the chain length. Saturation with dioxygen, instead of air, increases the chain length. An increase in alcohol concentration increases the chain length up to a limiting value. A complicated mechanism, which is in agreement with all these observations, is proposed. However, efforts to simulate the mechanism succeed only in simulating the Fe(H 2O)63+ yield, but indicate that the observed process is considerably faster than the predicted one. In the latter the rate-determining step is the Fenton reaction, the rate constant of which is well known.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2875-2880
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Inorganic Chemistry
Issue number14
StatePublished - 18 Jul 2005


  • Alcohols
  • Chain reactions
  • Dioxygen
  • Fenton reaction
  • Iron
  • Oxidation


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