A novel and stretchable carbon-nanotube/Ni@TiO2:W photocatalytic composite for the complete removal of diclofenac drug from the drinking water

Vicente Rodriguez-Gonzalez , Ernesto Valadez-Renteria , Rafael Perez-Gonzalez , Christian Gomez-Solis , Luis Armando Diaz-Torres , Armando Encinas , Jorge Oliva


Received January 26, 2022,Revised , Accepted May 20, 2022, Available online May 29, 2022

Volume 35,2023,Pages 575-589

We present the structural, morphological and photocatalytic properties of stretchable composites made with carbon nanotubes (CNTs), silicon rubber and Ni@TiO2:W nanoparticles (TiWNi NPs) with average size of 37 ± 2 nm. Microscopy images showed that the TiWNi NPs decorated the surface of the CNT fibers, which are oriented in a preferential direction. TiWNi NPs presented a mixture of anatase/rutile phases with cubic structure. The performance of the TiWNi powders and stretchable composites was evaluated for the photocatalytic degradation of diclofenac (DCF) anti-inflammatory drug under ultraviolet-visible light. The results revealed that the maximum DCF degradation percentages were 34.6%, 91.9%, 97.1%, 98.5% and 100% for the CNT composite (stretched at 0%), TiWNi powders, CNT + TiWNi (stretched at 0%), CNT + TiWNi (stretched at 50%) and CNT + TiWNi (stretched at 100%), respectively. Thus, stretching the CNT + TiWNi composites was a good strategy to enhance the DCF degradation percentage from 97.1% to 100%, since stretching created additional defects (oxygen vacancies) that acted as electron sink, delaying the electron-hole recombination, and favors the DCF degradation. Raman/absorbance measurements confirmed the presence of such defects. Moreover, the reactive oxygen species (ROS) were determined by the scavenger's experiments and found that the main ROS were the ·OH and O2 radicals, which attacked the DCF molecules, causing their degradation. The results of this investigation confirmed that the stretchable CNT/TiWNi-based composites are a viable alternative to remove pharmaceutical contaminants from water and can be manually separated from the decontaminated water, which is unviable using photocatalytic powders.

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