Advanced oxidation processes like the titanium dioxide (TiO2) photocatalytic process are considered an option for eliminating persistent water pollutants. However, the photocatalyst must be accessible to the UV radiation. The team of researchers from the School of Industrial Design and Engineering (ETSIDI) prepared a floating catalyst by depositing TiO2 in low density polyethylene (LDPE) and printing filament meshes from this doped polymer in a Fused-Deposition-Modelling 3D-printer. As the LDPE-meshes have a lower density than water, they float on the surface and are easily accessible for the sunlight. In comparison to a plate with similar activity to dispersed TiO2 the mesh structure exhibited a better elimination performance in the tests. To increase the TiO2 dispersion in the polymer, a dispersing agent may be used.
To the opinion of the authors, the study opens the doors for in-situ treatment of contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) in an economic, efficient, easily implantable and environmentally compatible way.
Original publication: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cattod.2019.01.074