Low-temperature carbonization and more effective degradation of carbohydrates induced by ferric trichloride.
ABSTRACT The present work is devoted to an attempt to understand the effect of an inorganic salt such as ferric trichloride (FeCl(3)) on the carbonization and degradation of carbohydrates such as β-cyclodextrin (CD), amylose, and cellulose. Our data revealed two important observations. First, the presence of FeCl(3) led to the occurrence of a low carbonization temperature of 373 K. This is a rare phenomenon, in which carbonization improvement is present even if a small amount of FeCl(3) was added. Experimental results had provided evidence for the fact that a redox process was started during the low-temperature carbonization of β-CD, causing the reduction of FeCl(3) to ferrous chloride (FeCl(2)) by carbon materials formed in the carbonization process in air. However, the reduction process of FeCl(3) produced the in situ composite nanomaterial of Fe-FeCl(2) combination in nitrogen. Second, a molecule-ion interaction emerged between FeCl(3) and the carbohydrates in aqueous solution, resulting in a more effective degradation of the carbohydrates. Moreover, our results demonstrated that FeCl(3) played the role of a catalyst during the degradation of the carbohydrates in solution. We believe that the current work not only has a significant potential application in disposal of waste carbohydrates but also could be helpful in many fields such as environmental protection, biomass energy development, and inorganic composite nanomaterials.