Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Chemical Engineering


The anodic oxidation of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) was studied in alkaline medium on a smooth platinum electrode. Bulk electrolysis indicated that stable organic intermediates (formaldehyde and glyoxal) are formed during the oxidation of EDTA and that complete oxidation to CO2 can be achieved. The proposed pathway suggests that the acetate groups in EDTA are initially oxidized, generating formaldehyde and ethylenediamine. The rest potential of EDTA (0.066 to 0.164 V vs. Hg/HgO) was observed to be higher than for other organic species. In alkaline medium, very little EDTA oxidation was found to occur on bare platinum. Limiting-current behavior due to PtO formation was observed immediately positive of the rest potential. Tafel behavior (Tafel slope 120 mV/dec) was observed in the potential region positive of the cessation of the bulk of oxide film formation and negative of the onset of O2 evolution. The reaction order of EDTA was determined to be ~0.5, and that of OH was close to zero. The reaction mechanism consistent with the experimental data involves Temkin-type adsorption and a first-electron-transfer rate-determining step.