Intrinsic kinetics of titania photocatalysis : simplified models for their investigation

Vezzoli, Massimiliano (2012) Intrinsic kinetics of titania photocatalysis : simplified models for their investigation. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Even though titanium dioxide photocatalysis has been promoted as a leading green technology for water purification, many issues have hindered its application on a large commercial scale. For the materials scientist the main issues have centred the synthesis of more efficient materials and the investigation of degradation mechanisms; whereas for the engineers the main issues have been the development of appropriate models and the evaluation of intrinsic kinetics parameters that allow the scale up or re-design of efficient large-scale photocatalytic reactors.

In order to obtain intrinsic kinetics parameters the reaction must be analysed and modelled considering the influence of the radiation field, pollutant concentrations and fluid dynamics. In this way, the obtained kinetic parameters are independent of the reactor size and configuration and can be subsequently used for scale-up purposes or for the development of entirely new reactor designs.

This work investigates the intrinsic kinetics of phenol degradation over titania film due to the practicality of a fixed film configuration over a slurry. A flat plate reactor was designed in order to be able to control reaction parameters that include the UV irradiance, flow rates, pollutant concentration and temperature.

Particular attention was paid to the investigation of the radiation field over the reactive surface and to the issue of mass transfer limited reactions. The ability of different emission models to describe the radiation field was investigated and compared to actinometric measurements. The RAD-LSI model was found to give the best predictions over the conditions tested. Mass transfer issues often limit fixed film reactors. The influence of this phenomenon was investigated with specifically planned sets of benzoic acid experiments and with the adoption of the stagnant film model. The phenol mass transfer coefficient in the system was calculated to be km,phenol=8.5815x10-7Re0.65(ms-1).

The data obtained from a wide range of experimental conditions, together with an appropriate model of the system, has enabled determination of intrinsic kinetic parameters. The experiments were performed in four different irradiation levels (70.7, 57.9, 37.1 and 20.4 W m-2) and combined with three different initial phenol concentrations (20, 40 and 80 ppm) to give a wide range of final pollutant conversions (from 22% to 85%). The simple model adopted was able to fit the wide range of conditions with only four kinetic parameters; two reaction rate constants (one for phenol and one for the family of intermediates) and their corresponding adsorption constants. The intrinsic kinetic parameters values were defined as kph = 0.5226 mmol m-1 s-1 W-1, kI = 0.120 mmol m-1 s-1 W-1, Kph = 8.5 x 10-4 m3 mmol-1 and KI = 2.2 x 10-3 m3 mmol-1.

The flat plate reactor allowed the investigation of the reaction under two different light configurations; liquid and substrate side illumination. The latter of particular interest for real world applications where light absorption due to turbidity and pollutants contained in the water stream to be treated could represent a significant issue. The two light configurations allowed the investigation of the effects of film thickness and the determination of the catalyst optimal thickness. The experimental investigation confirmed the predictions of a porous medium model developed to investigate the influence of diffusion, advection and photocatalytic phenomena inside the porous titania film, with the optimal thickness value individuated at 5 ìm. The model used the intrinsic kinetic parameters obtained from the flat plate reactor to predict the influence of thickness and transport phenomena on the final observed phenol conversion without using any correction factor; the excellent match between predictions and experimental results provided further proof of the quality of the parameters obtained with the proposed method.

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ID Code: 51574
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Bell, John, Chamorro-Koc, Marianella, & Martens, Wayde
Keywords: water purification, photocatalysis, titanium dioxide, titania, fixed film, flat plate reactor, intrinsic reaction kinetics, phenol, Langmuir-Hinshelwood, catalyst thickness, liquid-side illumination, substrate-side illumination, differential reactor, dye injection test, spray-coating, benzoic acid, mass transfer limitation, mass transfer coefficient, total organic carbon, internal diffusion limitation, porous medium model, diffusion, advection, discrete volume method
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 11 Jul 2012 06:44
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2015 02:16

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