Brandon Portela
Speaker's Institution
Colorado State University
Chemistry A101
Mixer Time
Mixer Time
Chemistry B101E
Calendar (ICS) Event
Additional Information

About the Seminar: 

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are chemicals characterized by their strong C-F bonds and have widespread global use in many industrial processes and consumer-based products. PFAS are collectively referred to as “forever chemicals” due to their long lifetime against environmental degradation. As a result of their environmental persistence, PFAS become pollutants that contaminate water sources and pose a threat to human health and wildlife. Current methodologies used to eliminate PFAS rely on separation processes or extremely harsh degradation methods that require large energy inputs. Thus, there is an immediate need for a simple method that can degrade these persistent pollutants. Houk, Ditchel and coworkers proposed a simple method to degrade perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids (PFCAs)–one of the largest classes of PFAS-into benign end products. In their study, they used aqueous sodium hydroxide in a dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) solution at 120 °C to degrade PFCAs of various lengths into fluoride ions and fluorinated and nonfluorinated carbon-containing products. Furthermore, they proposed a PFCA degradation mechanism based on Density Functional Theory (DFT) calculations that are consistent with experimental results. This new method of PFCA degradation and its mechanism may be generalized to other classes of PFAS and may be implemented as an effective and practical method to remove PFCAs from water sources.