Solvothermal preparation of TiO2/saponite nanocomposites and photocatalytic activity

Athanasia Nikolopoulou, Dimitris Papoulis, Sridhar Komarneni, Panagiota Tsolis-Katagas, Dionisios Panagiotaras, George H. Kacandes, Peilin Zhang, Shu Yin, Tsugio Sato

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A saponite-rich clay sample from western Macedonia, Greece was used for the preparation of TiO2-saponite nanocomposites by solvothermal reaction of a mixture of water and ethanol as the solvent, hexamethylene tetramine as the precipitant and titanium trichloride as the TiO2 precursor. Phase composition was determined by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and particle morphology and elemental content was characterized by scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM-EDS). These samples were also characterized by attenuated total reflection using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR). Particle-size analysis was carried out using dynamic light scattering method (DLS) and specific surface area and pore-size distribution analyses using BET N2 adsorption-desorption isotherms. The composite photocatalysts showed a mesoporous structure with the distribution of pore diameters centered at 3.8 and at 5.7-9.8 nm, with high specific surface areas. The photocatalytic activities of titania-saponite nanocomposites in decomposing NOx gas were measured as a function of two different TiCl3-saponite ratios. TiO2:saponite with a mass ratio of 0.2:1 (Ti-Sap1) showed the highest photocatalytic activity because of its relatively large specific surface area and higher TiO2 content. Both the TiO2-saponite nanocomposites showed higher photocatalytic activity than the standard titania (Degussa P25) based on TiO2 content because the titania was well dispersed on saponite.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-368
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Clay Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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