Nano silver-Iron-reduced graphene oxide modified titanium dioxide photocatalyst for the remediation of Organic dye in water systems
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Drinking water with high concentrations of inorganic and organic contaminants can cause adverse health defects. Specifically methyl orange dye is an organic water contaminant that has been known (along with others like methyl blue etc.) to have an increase in our water systems over the past few years due to increasing demand in industrial processes. It is therefore of utmost importance to remediate organic contaminants and ultimately enable prevention. The contaminants can be removed by photocatalysis. Anatase TiO2 is known for its photocatalytic degradation of environmental pollutants and photoelectro-chemical conversion of solar energy. However its application is limited since it is a wide band gap semiconductor, (Eg = 3.2 eV). The following study deals with the enhancement of the photocatalytic properties of TiO2 for remediation of organic water contaminants. The study was carried out to produce the two nanocomposites AgFe-TiO2 and AgFe-TiO2-rGO photocatalyst which purpose is to be cheap and easy to apply, with improved (fast and effective) photocatalytic degradation of methyl orange. The main objective was to decrease the band gap and to introduce intra-band gap states to absorb visible light. Modification of the TiO2 with small bandgap semiconductor, graphene and Ag- Fe nanoalloy reduced the bandgap energy for visible light absorption and photocatalytic degradation of methyl orange dye. The two composites were synthesised using sonication and chemical synthesis methods. A photocatalytic study (degradation of methyl orange dye) was carried out using a system incorporating an UV lamp source to determine the degradation of methyl orange catalysed by the synthesised photocatalysts AgFe-TiO2-rGO and AgFe-TiO2 along with UV-vis Spectroscopy. Morphological studies were carried out using HRSEM and HRTEM which determined the spherical agglomerated nature of AgFe-TiO2 and the sheet-like nature of AgFe-TiO2-rGO containing spherical agglomerants but that also contained pockets formed by the sheets of the rGO. XRD served as confirmation of the phase of TiO2 in both composites to be anatase. Analysis confirmed the formation and elemental determination of both composites. It was observed that the Band gap of TiO2 degussa decreased from 2.94 eV to 2.77 eV in the composite AgFe-TiO2. The photocatalytic reactivity of AgFe- TiO2 was an improvement from TiO2 and AgFe-TiO2-rGO based on the photocatalytic study. Therefore concluding that AgFe-TiO2 was the best catalyst to convert the dye (Orange II) into free radicals and ultimately remove the contaminant from the water compared to AgFe-TiO2-rGO.