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Formulation and optimization of a novel TiO2/calcium alginate floating photocatalyst

Dalponte, Ithiara, de Sousa, Bianca Cristina, Mathias, Alvaro Luiz, Jorge, Regina Maria Matos
International journal of biological macromolecules 2019 v.137 pp. 992-1001
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, acetic acid, calcium alginate, calcium carbonate, discoloration, energy-dispersive X-ray analysis, gelation, industrial wastewater, mixing, photocatalysis, photocatalysts, polymers, response surface methodology, scanning electron microscopy, sodium bicarbonate, tartrazine, thermogravimetry, titanium dioxide, ultraviolet radiation
For the first time, TiO2 immobilized in alginate polymer was modified to turn it into a buoyant photocatalyst for achieving both higher radiance utilization efficiency and easier post-treatment separation. In this work, the low-density TiO2 alginate-based photocatalyst was synthesized by ionotropic gelation using a gas-forming agent (CaCO3, NaHCO3) in an acid medium (CH3COOH). The TiO2, CaCO3, and CH3COOH concentrations affect buoyancy, and the best response (100% of floating beads) after 24 h was determined using a central composite rotatable design combined with the response surface methodology. It was found that the optimal TiO2/CaAlg formulation were the following concentrations: 1.1 wt% TiO2, 2.3 wt% CaCO3, and 6.4 vt% CH3COOH. The resulting floating beads were uniform (size: 3.4 ± 0.4 mm, density: 0.9215 g/cm3), with a rough surface and porous internal structure, as observed in the characterizations using SEM/EDX, TGA, XRD, and FT-IR. The photocatalytic activity under UV irradiation (125 W, 254 nm) was evaluated for tartrazine dye removal, achieving up to 89% discoloration upon the first use with TOC removal capacity even after seven use cycles. This easily recoverable floating photocatalyst may be applied to improve the photocatalytic treatment of industrial wastewater, making most efficient use of photoactivation with no mechanical stirring.