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Controllable design of natural gully-like TiO2−ZrO2 composite and its photocatalytic degradation and hydrogen production by water splitting

Abstract

Using Polystyrene (PS) spheres as the self-assembling template, a series of natural gully-like TiO2−ZrO2 nanocomposites were prepared by the instant centrifugation with one-step hydrolysis in combination with vacuum and calcination post-processing method. XRD, UV−vis/DRS, XPS, SEM, and N2 adsorption−desorption measurements are employed to analyze and characterize the composition, structure and morphology of gully-like TiO2−ZrO2 composites. The results show that the series of TiO2−ZrO2 composite materials have obvious gully structure, and the gully distribution is uniform. Imitating the formation process of natural ravines, the friction and adhesion between the PS spheres template and TiO2−ZrO2 nanoparticles could be changed by adjusting the reactant ratio. At the meantime, water in the reaction system continually erodes over the loose overburden, then cross section and fault with different shapes appear. Increasing the reaction time or accelerating the stirring speed can be beneficial for the formation of the three-dimensional gully erosion, making samples with different gully width, which provides a new approach for designing of controllable morphology. In this paper, the prepared gully-like TiO2−ZrO2 composites show high specific surface area and smaller band gap. We prepared a sample using titanium isopropoxide and n-butoxypolyethylene zirconium with the precursor volume ratio about 1:0.25 (TZ 1:0.25), which shows excellent photocatalytic performance under UV light and simulated sunlight, and presents the ability to degrade organic pollutants with different structure. In addition, the cumulative H2 evolution quantity, which the sample (TZ 1:4) brings out via photocatalytic H2 evolution from water splitting under 8 h light irradiation, reaches 97.1 μmol/g, indicating the sample has the capacity of photocatalytic water splitting into hydrogen. Furthermore, a trapping experiment was performed, indicates that the active radicals ·O2-, h+, and ·OH- are responsible for the photocatalytic reaction, and the possible reaction mechanism of gully-like TiO2−ZrO2 in both photocatalytic degradation and photocatalytic H2 evolution from water splitting is also proposed.

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Publication details

The article was received on 13 Feb 2017, accepted on 10 Jul 2017 and first published on 11 Jul 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7NJ00511C
Citation: New J. Chem., 2017, Accepted Manuscript
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    Controllable design of natural gully-like TiO2−ZrO2 composite and its photocatalytic degradation and hydrogen production by water splitting

    J. Zhang, L. Li, J. Zhang, X. Zhang and W. Zhang, New J. Chem., 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7NJ00511C

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