In this study, a facile and effective route to prepare hybrid photocatalysts (paper-TiO2, paper-TiO2-AgBr and paper-AgBr-TiO2) has been reported. The preparation procedure consisted of the direct adsorption of the previously synthesized titania nanoparticles (TiO2 sol) to generate the TiO2 nanosphere and the immersion process in an aqueous suspension of AgBr to form the AgBr nanoclusters on paper fibers. The synthesis technology is economic, efficient, environmentally friendly and easy to implement even at industrial scale. A cellulose-based structure with well dispersed TiO2 particles of around 1 μm and a pseudo-liquid coating of Ag+ and AgBr species was obtained. All the prepared photocatalysts demonstrated effective photocatalytic performance in gaseous phase ethanol degradation with simulated sunlight illumination, through the direct mineralization to CO2 and the parallel reaction via acetaldehyde degradation. A relevant improvement in the photocatalytic activity was noticed when TiO2 was associated with AgBr nanocrystals, with a higher effect observed when AgBr was loaded onto the paper surface prior to TiO2. Ag-Ti interaction reduces the pair recombination rate and increases the available charge carriers generating reactive OH- radicals from both Ag-species and TiO2, and O2- radicals from Ag+-AgBr species, which would be involved in the ethanol degradation process.
Keywords: Ethanol photodegradation; Paper-AgBr-TiO(2); Sunlight irradiation; Surface functionalization.
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