TiO2 photocatalytic powders were synthesized by a sol-gel combustion synthesis method in which urea was used as the fuel and titanyl nitrate was used as the oxidizer. Various fuel-to-oxidizer ratios were studied for their effects on the combustion phenomena and the properties of the synthesized TiO2. The fuel-to-oxidizer ratio was found to determine the maximum combustion temperature, which in turn affects the specific surface area, crystallite size, and weight fraction of anatase phase of the synthesized TiO2. The synthesized TiO2 all contain carbonaceous species and are either pure anatase or anatase-rutile mixed phase in crystalline structure. The photocatalytic activity of the TiO2 was found to correlate to a certain degree with the specific surface area, crystallite size, weight fraction of anatase phase, and visible and IR absorbances. The mixed phase TiO2 shows a higher photocatalytic activity than the pure anatase phase TiO2 when containing a small fraction (<~25 wt%) of rutile phase but a lower phoyocatalytic activity when containing a large fraction (>~25 wt%) of rutile phase. The synthesized TiO2 all show higher photocatalytic activity than Degussa P25 TiO2. The enhanced photocatalytic activity was attributed mainly to sensitization by the carbonaceous species and larger amounts of hydroxyl group adsorbed on the TiO2 surface.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Ceramics and Composites
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Materials Chemistry