Publication in: Spring 2023 Issue

Photocatalytic degradation of trichloroethylene by brookite TiO2 nanoparticles: study of particle size and pH effects
Samantha Reese
Faculty Mentor(s):
Oksana Love
Abstract / Summary:
Titanium dioxide nanoparticles, TiO2 NPs, are non-toxic, inexpensive, and are well known for their efficient photocatalytic properties. TiO2 forms in three different morphologies, the two most common forms are Anatase and Rutile which have been deeply researched. Brookite has been under-researched up until the recent findings on how to synthesize stable samples for analysis. Brookite’s unique physical components suggest it could have a higher photocatalytic potential than Anatase or Rutile. Trichloroethylene, commonly known as TCE, is a carcinogenic volatile organic compound, additionally it is one of the leading chemicals identified in freshwater contamination. To measure the effects on degradation by size and surface area of Nanoparticles and pH of sample solutions. Aqueous TCE samples were prepared with Brookite NPs and treated with various periods of UV-illumination at 254 nm. Photocatalytic degradation studies were measured using a purge & trap - gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Current findings indicate TCE is degraded at a faster rate with NPs in solution compared to the degradation rate of UV exposure alone. Results indicate that degradation is most efficient in acidic conditions (pH = 1), compared to basic (pH=12), or neutral (pH = 6), conditions.
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