Photocatalytic degradation of methylene blue dye by zinc oxide nanoparticles obtained from precipitation and sol-gel methods.Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2016 Dec; 23(24):25485-25493.ES
Zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles were synthesized by precipitation and sol-gel methods. The aim of this study was to understand how different synthetic methods can affect the photocatalytic activity of ZnO nanoparticles. As-synthesized ZnO nanoparticles were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and UV-Visible spectroscopic techniques. XRD patterns of ZnO powders synthesized by precipitation and sol-gel methods revealed their hexagonal wurtzite structure with crystallite sizes of 30 and 28 nm, respectively. Their photocatalytic activities were evaluated by photocatalytic degradation of methylene blue, a common water pollutant, under UV radiation. The effects of operational parameters such as photocatalyst load and initial concentration of the dye on photocatalytic degradation of methylene blue were investigated. While the degradation of dye decreased over the studied dye concentration range of 20 to 100 mg/L, an optimum photocatalyst load of 250 mg/L was needed to achieve dye degradation as high as 81 and 92.5 % for ZnO prepared by precipitation and sol-gel methods, respectively. Assuming pseudo first-order reaction kinetics, this corresponded to rate constants of 8.4 × 10-3 and 12.4 × 10-3 min-1, respectively. Hence, sol-gel method is preferred over precipitation method in order to achieve higher photocatalytic activity of ZnO nanostructures. Photocatalytic activity is further augmented by better choice of capping ligand for colloidal stabilization, starch being more effective than polyethylene glycol (PEG).