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Photocatalytic evaluation of the composite g-C3N4/ZnO/carbon xerogel in the photodegradation of 4-chlorophenol in both fluidized bed and batch reactors

Grant number: 18/06361-9
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2018
Effective date (End): June 30, 2019
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Materials and Metallurgical Engineering - Nonmetallic Materials
Principal Investigator:Liana Alvares Rodrigues
Grantee:Livia Kent Paiva
Home Institution: Escola de Engenharia de Lorena (EEL). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Lorena , SP, Brazil


This project will explore the development of g-C3N4/carbon xerogel/ZnO hybrid photocatalysts, aiming at the enhancement of the quantum efficiency of the degradation of organic pollutants. This will be the greatest technological innovation of this project, as the catalytic properties of this hybrid have not been studied in literature. Graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4) can be easily obtained by the polymerization of precursors rich in nitrogen (melanin, urea, etc). The material also presents low bandgap (Eg~2.7 eV), which is adequate to propel degradation reactions of organic pollutants. However, the g-C3N4 has low surface area and recombination time, which significantly hinders its photocatalytic properties. An efficient way to improve its photoactivity is the coupling of g-C3N4 with ZnO by type II heterojunctions or Z-scheme. In these types of heterojunctions, the potential of the conduction and valence bands of the semiconductors are different, promoting the transfer of the photogenerated charges among them, which increases the recombination time and, consequently, the photocatalytic activity of the material. Furthermore, the low superficial area problem can be solved by coupling the g-C3N4/ ZnO with carbon xerogel, as this material presents excellent electrical conductivity, high surface area and porosity, the last being easily manipulated by modifications in the synthesis parameters. The choice of the tannin molecule as the xerogel precursor is based at reducing costs and environmental impacts, as well as adding value to the proposed technological innovation. The band gap energy of the samples will be determined using diffuse reflectance spectroscopy. The crystallographic phase, morphology and elemental analysis will be evaluated by X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive spectrometry (EDS), respectively. The hybrid photocatalytic action will be evaluated through the decomposition of 4-chlorophenol in a batch reactor and in a fluidized bed reactor.