Ups and Downs of Water Photodecolorization by Nanocomposite Polymer Nanofibers
Given the exponentially expanding water pollution causing water scarcity, there is an urgent need for operative nanotechnological systems that can purify water, with insignificant energy consumption, and rapidly. Here, we introduce a nanocomposite system based on TiO₂ nanoparticles (NPs) and PES nanofibers (NFs) that can adsorb and then photodecompose organic water pollutants such as dye molecules. We evaluate pros and cons of this system with respect to its purification efficiency and structural properties that can be impacted by the photocatalytic activity of the nanofillers. While the material is superhydrophilic and able to remove 95% methylene blue (MB) from water via adsorption/photodecomposition, its thermomechanical properties decline upon UV irradiation. However, these properties still remain at the level of the neat NFs. The removal behavior is modeled by the first- and second-order kinetic models from the kinetic point of view. The nanocomposite NFs' removal behavior complies much better with the second-order kinetic model. Overall, such feedbacks implied that the nanocomposite can be effectively applied for water treatment and the structural properties are still as reliable as those of the neat counterpart.