Photocatalytic degradation of pesticides by nanofibrous membranes fabricated by colloid-electrospinning
Photocatalytic degradation of organic pollutants is a promising way to clean wastewater. Herein, we develop and compare two processes for fabricating nanofibrous membranes with photocatalytic properties. Hybrid nanofibers are produced by colloid-electrospinning and composed of metal oxide nanoparticles on sintered SiO2 nanoparticles. The latter serves as support for the photocatalyst and preserves the structural integrity of nanofibers. Adsorption of metal salts on crosslinked polymer/SiO2 fibers followed by calcination allows for the obtention of fibers with large amounts of metal oxide. Nanofibrous membranes with supported ZnO, In2O3, or mixture of both, display photocatalytic activity upon UV irradiation. The membranes can degrade a dye and an organophosphate pesticide more effectively than membranes directly fabricated from the calcination of metal oxides.