Photocatalytic degradation and mineralization of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) using a composite TiO2 -rGO catalyst
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AuthorGómez Ruiz, Beatriz; Ribao Martínez, Paula; Diban-Ibrahim Gómez, Nazely; Rivero Martínez, María José; Ortiz Uribe, Inmaculada; Urtiaga Mendia, Ana María
The inherent resistance of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) to biological degradation makes necessary to develop advanced technologies for the abatement of this group of hazardous substances. The present work investigated the photocatalytic decomposition of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) using a composite catalyst based on TiO2 and reduced graphene oxide (95% TiO2/5% rGO) that was synthesized using a facile hydrothermal method. The efficient photoactivity of the TiO2-rGO (0.1 g L-1) composite was confirmed for PFOA (0.24 mmol L-1) degradation that reached 93 ± 7% after 12 h of UV-vis irradiation using a medium pressure mercury lamp, a great improvement compared to the TiO2 photocatalysis (24 ± 11% PFOA removal) and direct photolysis (58 ± 9%). These findings indicate that rGO provided the suited properties of TiO2-rGO, possibly as a result of acting as electron acceptor and avoiding the high recombination electron/hole pairs. The release of fluoride and the formation of shorter-chain perfluorocarboxilyc acids, that were progressively eliminated in a good match with the analysed reduction of total organic carbon, is consistent with a step-by-step PFOA decomposition via photogenerated hydroxyl radicals. Finally, the apparent first order rate constants of the TiO2-rGO UV-vis PFOA decompositions, and the intermediate perfluorcarboxylic acids were found to increase as the length of the carbon chain was shorter.