The oxidation of p-chlorobenzoic acid (p-CBA), used as a typical-model refractory organic compound, in aqueous solutions during the heterogeneous catalytic ozonation treatment process by applying the hydrophilic tetravalent manganese feroxyhyte (TMFx), as well as modified hydrophobic TMFx and the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) as solid (powdered) catalysts was examined in this study. TMFx was hydrophobically modified by using trichloromethylsilane (TriClMS) solutions in toluene at the concentration range 10–1000 mg/L. TMFx catalysts were characterized by the application of scanning electron microscopy (SEM), as well as by Brunauer-Emmet-Teller (BET) and surface charge density determinations. TMFx catalyst, which was modified by 50 mg/L trichloromethylsilane (TriClMS) solution (TMFx-50), was found to present the higher adsorption capacity of studied organic compound (250 μg p-CBA/g) when compared with all the other investigated catalysts, which in turn resulted in the higher removal of p-CBA (>99%) by the subsequent application of ozonation, as compared to hydrophilic TMFx (96.5%) and to single ozonation (96%) applications. PET-catalyst concentration in the range 0.5–10 g/L led to almost total removal of p-CBA within 15 min of reaction/oxidation time at pH 7. Conclusively, the experimental results for both catalysts indicated that hydrophobicity and adsorption capacity are crucial steps for the process of heterogeneous catalytic ozonation of refractory organic compounds.
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