The presence of a high number of potentially toxic emerging pollutants on the environment supports the need to better understand the occurrence, the disposal and ecological impact. In this sense, clay minerals and semiconductors have been successfully used in advanced oxidative processes, via heterogeneous photocatalysis. Thus the dispersion of semiconductors onto inorganic solids such as the kaolinite and bentonite clay minerals provide a great dispersion of the TiO2 semiconductor on the surface of the inorganic materials, which allows greater efficiency against the degradation of organic pollutants. Thus, the main objective of this project is the synthesis and characterization of clay-based nanocomposites /titanium dioxide doped niobium ions with niobium ions using hydrolytic sol-gel methodology. In this context, the natural clay minerals will be purified and further the precursors of titanium and niobium will be supported on the cationic and neutral matrices by hydrolytic sol-gel method and later calcined at temperatures between 100 and 1000 ºC for 24 hours. The heterogeneous photocatalysts obtained will be used in the photodegradation of the drug Triaxon® using ultraviolet radiation in a reactor with wavelength of 365nm, and power of 30W. The studies will be compared to Degussa P25 titanium dioxide and calcined clay minerals at the same heat treatment temperatures. All these materials will be initially characterized from the structural and morphological viewpoint by the following techniques: X-ray diffraction, infrared absorption spectroscopy, ultraviolet visible absorption spectroscopy (band gap determination), thermal analysis, specific surface area analysis, cationic exchange capacity and scanning electron microscopy.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: