Semiconductor Photocatalysts For The Detoxification Of Water Pollutants
Hanumanth Rao, C
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Water pollution is a major concern in vast countries such as India and other developing nations. Several methods of water purification have been practiced since many decades, Semiconductor photocatalysis is a promising technique, for photodegradation of various hazardous chemicals that are encountered in waste waters. The great significance of this technique is that, it can degrade (detoxify) various complex organic chemicals, which has not been addressed by several other methods of purification. This unique advantage made this field of research to attract many investigators particularly in latter eighties and after. This thesis incorporates the studies on the various semiconductor photocatalysts that have been employed for the detoxification purposes. The fundamental principles involved in the photoelectrochemistry, reactions at the interface (solid - liquid or solid - gas) and photocatalytic reactions on fine particles are briefed. General nature and size quantization in semiconductor particles, photocatalytically active semiconductors, TiCh and ABO3 systems, chemical systems and modifications for solar energy conversions are brought out in the introduction chapter besides giving brief description about photocatalytic mineralization of water pollutants with mechanism involved, formation of reactive species and the factors influencing photomineralization reactions. Scope of the present work is given at the end of the first chapter. Second chapter deals with the materials used for the preparation of photocatalyst, preparative techniques, methods of analysis, instruments employed for the photodegradation experiments and a brief description of material characterization methods such as X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, thermogravimetric analysis, differential thermal analysis, optical absorption spectro photometry, Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR), and gas chromatograph - mass spectroscopy (GC - MS). Various preparative routes such as wet chemical and hydrothermal methods for obtaining TiO2 (both rutile and anatase forms), BaTiOs and SrTiO3 fine particles and the chemical analysis of their constituents have been described in brief. Third chapter presents the results of materials characterization. T1O2 (rutile and anatase), BaTiO3 and SrTiO3 have been characterized separately using various techniques. Different routes of obtaining the photocatalyst fine particles, heat treatment at various temperature ranges, experimental procedures and the results of characterization are brought out in this chapter. Fourth and fifth chapters present the details of degradation studies carried out on the photomineralization of chlorophenol, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde. Studies include photodegradation of the pollutants with different catalysts varying experimental conditions to check the effects of change in concentration of pollutants, oxidizer, pH, surface hydroxylation, etc. The most favorable conditions for the complete mineralization of the pollutants have been studied. In case of TiO2, anatase form has shown greater photoactivity when compared to rutile and complete mineralization of chlorophenols has been achieved at low pollutant concentrations, neutral pH, with H2O2 and UV illumination. Retarding effects of surface hydroxylation and the formation of peroxotitanium species during photodegradation have been presented. TCE and HCHO degradation with BaTiO3/SrTiO3 has been studied. Photocatalyst heat-treated at 1100°G-1300°C is found to be highly active in combination with H2O2 as electron scavenger. HCHO is not getting degraded to its completeness in aqueous conditions owing to the strong competition in surface adsorption posed by H2O molecules. Vapour-solid phase reaction however gave good results in the detoxification of HCHO via disproportionation. Summary and conclusions are given at the end of the thesis.