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Semiconductor-assisted self-cleaning polymeric fibers based on zinc oxide nanoparticles



Self-cleaning polymeric fibers have been successfully prepared by depositing ZnO nanoparticle onto wool and polyacrylonitrile (PAN) fibers with good compatibility and significant photocatalytic self-cleaning activity using the sol-gel process at ambient temperature. scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, diffuse reflectance spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, Brunauer-Emmett-Teller surface area analysis, and thermogravimetric analysis have been adopted as the characterization techniques. Transmission electron microscopy studies revealed presence of zinc oxide nanoparticles with 10–15 nm in size. Brunauer-Emmett-Teller measurement showed surface area of 48 m2/g for the ZnO nanoparticles. Photocatalytic activity of the self-cleaning materials were tested by measuring the photo-assisted degradation of methylene blue (MB) and eosin yellowish (EY) under ultraviolet-visible illumination. The results indicate that both of the ZnO-coated polyacrylonitrile and ZnO-coated wool fibers acquire photocatalytic activity toward dyes degradation. The photocatalytic activity of the treated fibers is maintained upon several numbers of photodegradation cycles. This facile and cheap preparation technique can be also applied to new polymeric fabrics to produce self-cleaning materials for industrial application. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2011