Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Teresa J. Bandosz

Committee Members

Charles Michael Drain

Maria Tamargo

Stephen O’Brien

Subject Categories

Environmental Chemistry | Materials Chemistry


chemical warfare agent, mustard gas, zinc hydroxide, zirconium hydroxide, graphite oxide composites, nanoparticles


One of the most widely used chemical warfare agent (CWA) is mustard gas, which is a highly toxic blistering agent. In this study we investigated the interactions of mustard gas surrogates’ vapors on zinc and zirconium hydroxides and their composites with graphite oxide (GO) and/or Au or Ag nanoparticles. Even though a small quantity of reports about the detoxification of CWAs on metal oxides is reported in the literature, almost all of these studies are performed in the liquid phase. Both herein reported Zn(OH)2 and Zr(OH)4 showed a good adsorption performance, with the former being photoactive under visible light irradiation. The synthesis of the composites with graphite oxide resulted in materials with improved detoxification ability due to the synergistic effect on the structural and chemical features. The density of the hydroxyl groups per surface area showed to play the most crucial role. The further addition of nanoparticles led to an increased catalytically decomposition of mustard gas surrogate to less or non-toxic products. Based on the analysis of the volatile products and those retained on the surface of the adsorbents, the involved mechanisms are concluded.