Hetero-photocatalytic graphene-TiO2 materials have, in the literature, been found to possess better photocatalytic activity for environmental applications compared to pure TiO2. These types of materials can be prepared in different ways; however, their photocatalytic performance and quality are not easily controlled and reproduced. Therefore, we synthetized graphene oxide-TiO2 nanoparticles by sol-gel reaction from TiCl4, as precursor, with two different methods of synthesis and with a graphene oxide (GO) loading ranging from 0 to 1.0. This approach led to a good adhesion of GO to TiO2 through the Ti-O-C bonding, which could enhance the photocatalytic performances of the materials. Overall, 0.05 wt % GO loading gave the highest rate in the photodegradation of phenol under visible light, while higher GO loadings had a negative impact on the photocatalytic performances of the composites. The 0.05 wt % GO-TiO2 composite material was confirmed to be a promising photocatalyst for water pollutant abatement. The designed synthetic approach could easily be implemented in large-scale production of the GO-TiO2 coupling materials.
Keywords: Graphene; TiO2; photocatalytic activity; reproducibility; water purification.