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Estrogenic compounds can cause human and ecological health issues and have been detected in surface and drinking water. In this research a reactor analysis determined the impact of operational parameters, the best fit kinetic model for the removal of estrone (E1), 17β-estradiol (E2), estriol (E3), and 17α-ethynylestradiol (EE2) using a bench-top iron electrocoagulation reactor, and characterized the floc generated in-situ. The parameters investigated were current density, conductivity, stir rate, and polarity reversal. Estrogen removal correlated well with an increase in current density, while conductivity did not impact removal but did reduce potentials. High stir rates and frequent polarity reversal demonstrated greater removal. The operating parameters that achieved the greatest estrogen removal were a current density of 16.7 mA cm−2, conductivity of 1000 μS cm−1, stir rate of 500 rpm, and a polarity reversal time of 30 s. These parameters led to average removal efficiencies of 81%, 87%, 85%, and 97% for E1, E2, E3, and EE2, respectively. The removal data for all estrogenic compounds best fit a pseudo-first order relationship with kinetic rate constants of 0.015 min−1 for E1 and E2, 0.016 min−1 for E3 and 0.040 min−1 for EE2. The floc formed in-situ were characterized by determining the crystalline phases with X-ray diffraction, the size and zeta potential, and the shape and major components using scanning electron microscope with energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometer. The iron coagulant generated during electrocoagulation was lepidocrocite with a point of zero charge of 5.67 and an average floc diameter of 2255 nm.


Accepted version. Chemosphere, Vol. 220 (April 2019): 1141-1149. DOI. © 2019 Elsevier. Used with permission.

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