Tetrachloroethene Case Study – Why Is It Important?


In case you haven’t heard about it, tetrachloroethene is the name given to tetracholoroethylene. It is also called perchloroethylene and abbreviated ‘perc’ or ‘PERC’. You might be more familiar with it if we tell you it’s in fact a manufactured chemical used when dry-cleaning fabrics or clothes. Moreover, it is used in making other chemicals, plus for degreasing metal components. You can even find it in paint and spot removers, brake & wood cleaners, suede protectors, water repellents or glue.

Why Is It Important?

Now that you know what tetrachloroethene is, it’s time to find out why is it so important. One of the most worrying aspects is that it’s a common contaminant of the soil. Its specific gravity is bigger than 1, which means that it will be a dense liquid if there’s enough of it in the water. It also has a low toxicity and a troubling density, which makes it hard to clean up, even harder than an oil spill.

The Case Study

Today we are going to talk about a case study made on this substance. The authors of the study are some researchers who work at Manchester Geomicro. In case you haven’t heard about it, this is a geo-microbiology and molecular environmental science group that works with the University of Manchester. As such, they wanted to use together chemical and microbiological contaminant degradation processes. The goal was to remediate the tetrachloroethene found at a site that was contaminated in Germany.

More exactly, they used a combination of nanomaterials and microbes to remediate the site. Apparently, when they work together, they can solve the problem of this chemical when it spills into water. The study was published in the Science of the Total Environment, and it was led by Katrin Mackenzie and Maria Vogel, who worked at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig.


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