Photoactive behavior of polyacrylonitrile fibers based on silver and zirconium co-doped titania nanocomposites: Synthesis, characterization, and comparative study of solid-phase photocatalytic self-cleaning



Silver and zirconium co-doped and mono-doped titania nanocomposites were synthesized and deposited onto polyacrylonitrile fibers via sol–gel dip-coating method. The resulted coated-fibers were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, diffuse reflectance spectroscopy, thermogravimetric analysis, and BET surface area measurement. Photocatalytic activity of the TiO2-coated and TiO2-doped coated fibers were determined by photomineralization of methylene blue and Eosin Y under UV–vis light. The progress of photodegradation of dyes was monitored by diffuse reflectance spectroscopy. The XRD results of samples indicate that the TiO2, Ag-TiO2, Zr-TiO2, and Ag-Zr-TiO2 consist of anatase phase. All samples demonstrated photo-assisted self-cleaning properties when exposed to UV–vis irradiation. Evaluated by decomposing dyes, photocatalytic activity of Ag–Zr co-doped TiO2 coated fiber was obviously higher than that of pure TiO2 and mono-doped TiO2. Our results showed that the synergistic action between the silver and zirconium species in the Ag-Zr TiO2 nanocomposite is due to both the structural and electronic properties of the photoactive anatase phase. These results clearly indicate that modification of semiconductor photocatalyst by co-doping process is an effective method for increasing the photocatalytic activity. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2013