Articles | Volume 10, issue 2
Research article
16 Nov 2017
Research article |  | 16 Nov 2017

Photocatalytic degradation of dyes in water by analytical reagent grades ZnO, TiO2 and SnO2: a comparative study

Dnyaneshwar R. Shinde, Popat S. Tambade, Manohar G. Chaskar, and Kisan M. Gadave

Abstract. In this study, we evaluated the photocatalytic activities of analytical reagent (AR) grade ZnO, TiO2, and SnO2 to identify a low-cost photocatalyst for dye degradation. The obtained samples of ZnO, TiO2, and SnO2 were characterised by X-ray diffractogram (XRD), scanning electron microscope imaging, and UV-VIS diffuse reflectance spectroscopy. The decolourisation of three structurally diverse dyes, namely crystal violet, basic blue, and methyl red under solar irradiation, was used to evaluate the photocatalytic activities of three metal oxides. The photocatalytic activities of the received three metal oxides were tested with the photocatalytic degradation of dyes and compared with Degussa P-25. Dye solutions with each metal oxide at initial pH 9 were subjected to irradiation under sunlight and monitored for up to the stage of complete decolourisation. The results indicate that ZnO exhibited the highest photocatalytic activity as compared to TiO2 and SnO2 as well as that of Degussa P-25 (TiO2). The photocatalytic dye decolourisation rates with ZnO were 1.14–1.35, 1.70–3.1, and 4–8.5 times higher than those of the Degussa P-25, TiO2, and SnO2, respectively. The percentage COD removal was studied for ZnO and partial removal was observed at the decolourisation stage. To enhance photocatalytic activity of AR grade ZnO, it was loaded with Ag metal and about 20 % enhancement in the activity was observed.

Short summary
With photocatalytic activity of commercially available photocatalysts, viz. ZnO, TiO2 and SnO2, a set of photocatalytic experiments was performed under similar conditions using crystal violet, basic blue and methyl red dyes in water. The comparison of photocatalytic activity of ZnO with the benchmark Degussa P-25 (TiO2) catalyst as well as with AR grade TiO2 and SnO2 showed that despite low specific surface areas and larger grain sizes, ZnO displayed higher activity in the degradation of dyes.