[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Thermal and nonthermal effects originating when a system is subjected to a microwave radiation field in the TiO2-photocatalyzed transformation of model substances containing various functional groups (e.g., benzoic acid, phthalic acid, o-formylbenzoic acid, phthalaldehyde, succinic acid, dimethyl phthalate, diethyl phthalate, and phenol) have been examined under simultaneous irradiation by ultraviolet (UV) and microwave (MW) radiations. Characteristics of the microwave effects and the fate of each substrate during the microwave-assisted photocatalytic process were monitored by UV absorption spectroscopy, HPLC methods, total organic carbon assays, and identification of intermediates using electrospray mass spectral techniques. Microwave thermal and nonthermal effects were delineated by comparing results from MW-generated internal heat versus conventional external heating, and at constant ambient temperature under a microwave field. Factors involved in the nonthermal component of the microwave radiation were inferred for the initial adsorption of the substrate and its subsequent degradation occurring on the surface of TiO2 particles. Microwave effects bear on the mechanism through which a model substrate undergoes oxidative degradation. A characteristic feature of these effects was briefly examined by considering the behavior of polar (dipole moments) substrates in a microwave radiation field.