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Simultaneous removal of Cr(VI) and 4-chlorophenol through photocatalysis by a novel anatase/titanate nanosheet composite: Synergetic promotion effect and autosynchronous doping

Liu, Wen, Sun, Weiling, Borthwick, Alistair G.L., Wang, Ting, Li, Fan, Guan, Yidong
Journal of hazardous materials 2016 v.317 pp. 385-393
X-ray diffraction, adsorption, chromium, heavy metals, nanocomposites, nanosheets, pH, photocatalysis, photooxidation, synergism, transmission electron microscopy, wastewater
Clean-up of wastewaters with coexisting heavy metals and organic contaminants is a huge issue worldwide. In this study, a novel anatase/titanate nanosheet composite material (labeled as TNS) synthesized through a one-step hydrothermal reaction was demonstrated to achieve the goal of simultaneous removal of Cr(VI) and 4-cholophenol (4-CP) from water. TEM and XRD analyses indicated the TNS was a nano-composite of anatase and titanate, with anatase acting as the primary photocatalysis center and titanate as the main adsorption site. Enhanced photocatalytic removal of co-existent Cr(VI) and 4-CP was observed in binary systems, with apparent rate constants (k1) for photocatalytic reactions of Cr(VI) and 4-CP about 3.1 and 2.6 times of that for single systems. In addition, over 99% of Cr(VI) and 4-CP was removed within 120min through photocatalysis by TNS at pH 7 in the binary system. Mechanisms for enhanced photocatalytic efficiency in the binary system are identified as: (1) a synergetic effect on the photo-reduction of Cr(VI) and photo-oxidation of 4-CP due to efficient separation of electron-hole pairs, and (2) autosynchronous doping because of reduced Cr(III) adsorption onto TNS. Furthermore, TNS could be efficiently reused after a simple acid-base treatment.