Hypochlorous acid has been reported as the main oxidant agent responsible for the corrosion of copper plumbing systems in chlorinated water supplies. However, there is little information about chlorine consumption kinetics in a combined system (i.e., with dissolved oxygen (DO) and free chlorine), as well as its complete mass balance within a copper pipe during stagnation. The results of our experiments using copper pipes filled with synthetic drinking water, with a moderate alkalinity (pH = 7.2; dissolved inorganic carbon = 80 mg as CaCO3
/L), and tested under chlorine concentrations from 0 to 8 mg/L, show that chlorine depletion is associated with pipe wall reactions (i.e., copper oxidation and scale formation processes). Free chlorine was depleted after 4 h of stagnation and its kinetic constant depend on the initial concentration, probably due to diffusion processes. Surface analysis including scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) and total reflection X-ray fluorescence (T-XRF) suggest chlorine precipitation, probably as CuCl. The obtained kinetics of chlorine and DO reduction would be critical for modeling and prediction of corrosion events of copper premise plumbing systems. In addition, our results indicate that the pipe’s surface reactions due to corrosion induces a loss of free chlorine in the bulk water, decreasing chlorine added for disinfection and the subsequent effect on water quality.
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