The scientists developed titanium nanoparticles to absorb pollutants in water.

- Mar 26, 2018-

The scientists developed titanium nanoparticles to absorb pollutants in water.

Rice university researchers have created a new "fiber mat" that can absorb and destroy pollutants in the water, foreign media reported. The "purifier" consists of titanium dioxide nanoparticles embedded in polymer fibers. In the tests, the team demonstrated that the material actually adsorbs contaminants. But instead of using water, nanoparticles of titanium dioxide are exposed to ultraviolet light to eliminate pollutants. Compared with other systems, this design is faster, safer and more energy efficient.


In fact, titanium dioxide is a very high - yielding purification material.

When exposed to ultraviolet light, it can become photocatalyst, releasing reactive oxygen species (ROS) to decompose pollutants. Over the years, this ability has been applied to microfluider-based filters, building smoking panels, and fabric coatings that allow us to hang clothes in the sun.

In this case, titanium dioxide nanoparticles are embedded in high permeability polyethylene fiberboard to remove and kill the interference. Since the fibers themselves are hydrophobic (waterproof), they do not absorb water, but they absorb pollutants.

After these MATS adsorb the pollutants, they can be irradiated by ultraviolet light, which can trigger the photocatalytic reaction that destroys pollutants. Titanium dioxide is already used in water treatment, but it is usually necessary to add a large amount of raw material to the wastewater (to form mud).


Before the embedded titanium dioxide nanoparticles start to destroy the contaminants, the MATS can be adsorbed first.

After completing the photocatalysis process, the treated water needs to be filtered out of the mud and the results are both difficult and inefficient. According to Pedro Alvarez, one of the study's authors, there are two limits to the current efficiency of photocatalytic processing:

First of all, the oxidizing agents are much more abundant than the target pollutants, so they cannot destroy the pollutants. Second, it takes a lot of time and money to keep and separate the slurry of the photocatalyst to prevent it from leaking into the water after treatment.

In some cases, the filtration of the mud's energy costs, even far more than uv light needs. For this reason, the research team resolved by fixing the catalyst, making it easy to reuse and retain -- "we don't allow it to filter out from the mat and affect the water".