Nanostructured metal oxides as adsorbents and photocatalysts

Paul, Blain (2010) Nanostructured metal oxides as adsorbents and photocatalysts. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


This research underlines the extensive application of nanostructured metal oxides in environmental systems such as hazardous waste remediation and water purification. This study tries to forge a new understanding of the complexity of adsorption and photocatalysis in the process of water treatment. Sodium niobate doped with a different amount of tantalum, was prepared via a hydrothermal reaction and was observed to be able to adsorb highly hazardous bivalent radioactive isotopes such as Sr2+ and Ra2+ions. This study facilitates the preparation of Nb-based adsorbents for efficiently removing toxic radioactive ions from contaminated water and also identifies the importance of understanding the influence of heterovalent substitution in microporous frameworks. Clay adsorbents were prepared via a two-step method to remove anionic and non-ionic herbicides from water. Firstly, layered beidellite clay was treated with acid in a hydrothermal process; secondly, common silane coupling agents, 3-chloro-propyl trimethoxysilane or triethoxy silane, were grafted onto the acid treated samples to prepare the adsorption materials. In order to isolate the effect of the clay surface, we compared the adsorption property of clay adsorbents with ƒ×-Al2O3 nanofibres grafted with the same functional groups. Thin alumina (£^-Al2O3) nanofibres were modified by the grafting of two organosilane agents 3-chloropropyltriethoxysilane and octyl triethoxysilane onto the surface, for the adsorptive removal of alachlor and imazaquin herbicides from water. The formation of organic groups during the functionalisation process established super hydrophobic sites along the surfaces and those non-polar regions of the surfaces were able to make close contact with the organic pollutants. A new structure of anatase crystals linked to clay fragments was synthesised by the reaction of TiOSO4 with laponite clay for the degradation of pesticides. Based on the Ti/clay ratio, these new catalysts showed a high degradation rate when compared with P25. Moreover, immobilized TiO2 on laponite clay fragments could be readily separated out from a slurry system after the photocatalytic reaction. Using a series of partial phase transition methods, an effective catalyst with fibril morphology was prepared for the degradation of different types of phenols and trace amount of herbicides from water. Both H-titanate and TiO2-(B) fibres coated with anatase nanocrystal were studied. When compared with a laponite clay photocatalyst, it was found that anatase dotted TiO2-(B) fibres prepared by a 45 h hydrothermal treatment followed by calcination were not only superior in performance in photocatalysis but could also be readily separated from a slurry system after photocatalytic reactions. This study has laid the foundation for the development of the ability to fabricate highly efficient nanostructured solids for the removal of radioactive ions and organic pollutants from contaminated water. These results now seem set to contribute to the development of advanced water purification devices in the future. These modified nanostructured materials with unusual properties have broadened their application range beyond their traditional use as adsorbents, to also encompass the storage of nuclear waste after concentrating from contaminated water.

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ID Code: 41758
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Frost, Raymond & Martens, Wayde
Keywords: nanonstructures, metal oxides, adsorbents, photocatalysts
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 20 May 2011 05:11
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2017 14:41

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