Regular articles

Synthesis, characterization and application of ZnO-Ag as a nanophotocatalyst for organic compounds degradation, mechanism and economic study

A. Shariati , A.M. Arabi , M.E. Olya , M.R. Khosravi Nikou , S. Mohammadzadeh


Received November 17, 2014,Revised March 01, 2015, Accepted March 02, 2015, Available online July 04, 2015

Volume 35,2015,Pages 194-207

The current work deals with ZnO-Ag nanocomposites (in the wide range of x in the Zn1 − xO-Agx chemical composition) synthesized using microwave assisted solution combustion method. The structural, morphological and optical properties of the samples were characterized by XRD (X-ray diffraction), FTIR (Fourier transform infrared spectrometry), SEM (scanning electron microscopy technique), EDX (energy dispersive X-ray spectrum), ICP (inductively coupled plasma technique), TEM (transmission electron microscopy), BET (Brunauer–Emmett–Teller method), UV–Vis (ultraviolet–visible spectrophotometer) and photoluminescence spectrophotometer. The photocatalytic activity of the ZnO-Ag was investigated by photo-degradation of Acid Blue 113 (AB 113) under UV illumination in a semi-batch reactor. This experiment showed that ZnO-Ag has much more excellent photocatalytic properties than ZnO synthesized by the same method. The enhanced photocatalytic activity was due to the decrease in recombination of photogenerated electron-holes. The results showed the improvement of ZnO photocatalytic activity and there is an optimum amount of Ag (3.5 mol%) that needs to be doped with ZnO. The effect of operating parameters such as pH, catalyst dose and dye concentration were investigated. The reaction byproducts were identified by LC/MS (liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry) analysis and a pathway was proposed as well. Kinetic studies indicated that the decolorization process follows the first order kinetics. Also, the degradation percentage of AB 113 was determined using a total organic carbon (TOC) analyzer. Additionally, cost analysis of the process, the mechanism and the role of Ag were discussed.

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