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Adsorption and photocatalytic oxidation of ibuprofen using nanocomposites of TiO2 nanofibers combined with BN nanosheets: Degradation products and mechanisms

Lin, Lu, Jiang, Wenbin, Bechelany, Mikhael, Nasr, Maryline, Jarvis, Jacqueline, Schaub, Tanner, Sapkota, Rishi R., Miele, Philippe, Wang, Huiyao, Xu, Pei
Chemosphere 2019 v.220 pp. 921-929
absorbance, absorption, adsorption, fluorescence, high performance liquid chromatography, ibuprofen, kinetics, models, nanocomposites, nanofibers, nanosheets, nitrides, organic carbon, oxidation, photocatalysis, photocatalysts, tandem mass spectrometry, titanium dioxide
This study investigated the adsorption and photocatalytic activity of titanium dioxide (TiO2)-boron nitride (BN) nanocomposites for the removal of contaminants of emerging concern in water using ibuprofen as a model compound. TiO2 nanofibers wrapped by BN nanosheets were synthesized by electrospinning method. Characterization of the nanocomposite photocatalysts indicated that the BN nanosheets improved the light absorbance and reduced the recombination of the photoexcited charge carriers (e− and h+). The photocatalytic oxidation products and mechanisms of ibuprofen by the TiO2-BN catalysts were elucidated using a multiple analysis approach by high performance liquid chromatography, ultraviolet absorbance, dissolved organic carbon, fluorescence excitation-emission matrices, and electrospray ionization–liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry. The experimental results revealed that the photocatalytic oxidation by the TiO2-BN nanocomposites is a multi-step process and the interactions between ibuprofen molecules and the TiO2-BN nanocomposites govern the adsorption process. The increasing BN nanosheet content in the TiO2 nanofibers facilitated the breakdown of ibuprofen degradation intermediates (hydroxyibuprofen, carboxyibuprofen, and oxypropyl ibuprofen). Kinetic modeling indicated both adsorption and photocatalytic oxidation of ibuprofen by the TiO2-BN nanocomposites followed the first-order kinetic model. The photocatalytic oxidation rate increased with the increasing BN content in the nanocomposite catalysts, which was attributed to the enhanced light absorption capacity and the separation efficiency of the photoexcited electron (e−)-hole (h+) pairs. Multiple photocatalytic cycles were conducted to investigate the reusability and regeneration of the nanofibers for ibuprofen degradation.