Thermal Recycling of Brominated Flame Retardants with Fe2O3

Mohammednoor Altarawneh, Oday H. Ahmed, Zhong Tao Jiang, Bogdan Z. Dlugogorski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Plastics containing brominated flame retardants (BFRs) constitute the major fraction of nonmetallic content in e-waste. Co-pyrolysis of BFRs with hematite (Fe2O3) represents a viable option for the thermal recycling of BFRs. Consensus of experimental findings confirms the excellent bromine fixation ability of Fe2O3 and the subsequent formation of iron bromides. This contribution provides a comprehensive mechanistic account of the primary reactions between a cluster model of Fe2O3 and major bromine-bearing products from the decomposition of tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBA), the most commonly deployed BFR. We estimate the thermo-kinetic parameters for interactions of Fe2O3 with HBr, brominated alkanes and alkenes, bromobenzene, and bromophenol. Dissociative addition of HBr at a Fe-O bond proceeds through a trivial barrier of 8.2 kcal/mol with fitted parameters in the Arrhenius equation of k(T) = 7.96 × 1011-exp(-6400/RT) s-1. The facile and irreversible nature for HBr addition to Fe2O3 accords with the experimentally reported 90% reduction in HBr emission when Fe2O3 interacts with TBBA pyrolysates. A detailed kinetic analysis indicates that, transformation of Fe2O3 into iron bromides and oxybromides occurs via successive addition of HBr to Fe(Br)-O(H) entities. Elimination of a water molecule proceeds through an intramolecular H transfer. A direct elimination one-step mechanism operates in the dehydrohalogenation of bromoethane into ethene over Fe2O3. Dissociative decomposition and direct elimination channels assume comparable reaction rates in formation of acetylene from vinyl bromide. Results from this study provide an atomic-based insight into a promising thermal recycling route of e-waste.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6039-6047
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - Aug 4 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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