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Reductive transformation of hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine, octahydro-1,3,5,7-tetranitro-1,3,5,7-tetrazocine, and methylenedinitramine with elemental iron



Reductive (pre)treatment with elemental iron is a potentiallyuseful method for degrading nitramine explosives in water and soil. In the present study, we examined the kinetics, products, and mechanisms of hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX) and octahydro-1,3,5,7-tetranitro-1,3,5,7-tetrazocine (HMX) degradation with elemental iron. Both RDX and HMX were transformed with iron to formaldehyde, NHmath image, N2O, and soluble products. The yields of formaldehyde were relatively constant (71% ± 5%), whereas the yields of NHmath image and N2O varied, depending on the nitramine and the mechanism. The reactions most likely were controlled by a surface process rather than by external mass transfer. Methylenedinitramine (MDNA) was an intermediate of both RDX and HMX and was transformed quantitatively to formaldehyde with iron. However, product distributions and kinetic modeling results suggest that MDNA represented a minor reaction path and accounted for only 30% of the RDX reacted and 14% of the formaldehyde produced. Additional experiments showed that RDX reduction with elemental iron could be mediated by graphite and Fe2+ sorbed to magnetite, as demonstrated previously for nitroaromatics and nitrate esters. Methylenedinitramine was degraded primarily through reduction in the presence of elemental iron, because its hydrolysis was slow compared to its reactions with elemental iron and surface-bound Fe2+. Our results show that in a cast iron-water system, RDX may be transformed via multiple mechanisms involving different reaction paths and reaction sites.