A novel route for synthesis of UV-resistant hydrophobic titania-containing silica aerogels by using potassium titanate as precursor†
Developing a novel and facile way to synthesize composite aerogels plays an important role in the applications of aerogels. UV-resistant hydrophobic titania-containing silica aerogels are prepared for the first time using potassium titanate as precursor by a modified ambient pressure drying method. The well established silica–titania networks, which can be tuned from 10 to 30 nm by adjusting the precursor content in the preparation process, provide effective confinement of spherical solid clusters. The UV-resistant hydrophobic composite aerogels show excellent photocatalytic dye degradation activity under visible light irradiation. This can be ascribed to the insert of suitable titania into the silica organizational structure. The present work gives a promising method of one pot synthesis and surface modification of aerogel composite structures, which have a broader application as photocatalyst.