Two studies were performed to obtain fundamental mechanistic information on the TiO2 catalyzed degradation of organic substrates irradiated at 350 nm in dilute aqueous solutions under oxygenated conditions: (a) The photodecomposition of methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) and its intermediate products from β - oxidation, 2-methoxy-2-methylpropanol and 2-methoxy-2-methylpropanal. (b) The photodecomposition of two haloethers, bis-(2-chloroethyl) ether, and bis-(2-chloroisopropyl) ether. Controls were carried out throughout the two studies in the absence of light, and without the semiconductor in order to evaluate the role of photolysis.
The syntheses of proposed intermediate products, 2-methoxy-2-methylpropanol, 2-methoxy-2-methylpropanal, 2-methoxy-2-methylpropanoic acid, 2-chloroethyl formate, and 1-chloro-2-propyl acetate, were performed. The formation of these products in the titanium dioxide photocatalytic oxidation of the substrates of interest was also confirmed. TiO2 photocatalysis is a very effective method for the mineralization of aliphatic ethers and their primary oxidation products.