Mixed-phase titania foams via 3D-printing for pharmaceutical degradation

Zachary Warren, Thais T. Guaraldo, Ivan Barisic, Garyfalia A. Zoumpouli, Jannis Wenk, Davide Mattia

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Abstract

The continuing accumulation of organic micropollutants, particularly pharmaceuticals, in water is now considered an urgent threat to human health and the environment. Although the photocatalytic degradation of these compounds using slurries of photoactive nanoparticles has been proven to be highly effective at laboratory scale, this technology has not been implemented in industry due to cost and safety concerns. Here, 3D printed titania foams which are nanoparticle-free, mechanically robust and photoactive, are presented for the first time as a viable alternative to slurries for the photocatalytic degradation of pharmaceuticals. By optimizing the resin used to 3D print highly porous gyroid structures and the subsequent sintering conditions, it was possible to obtain a pure titania foam with a high anatase content, leading to the high photoactivity observed. Using carbamazepine, the pharmaceutical most found in waterways around the world, as a model pollutant, the 3D printed foams were tested in a recirculating flow reactor, with a quantum yield and electrical energy per order of 7.6 × 10−3 and 67.6 kW h m−3, respectively, outperforming literature results for titania nanoparticle slurries. These results, along with the reproducibility afforded by 3D printing methods, shows a clear pathway for photocatalysts to be implemented in practice, helping to solve an urgent health problem while addressing the risk of nanoparticulate release in the environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10913-10922
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry A
Volume12
Issue number18
Early online date3 Apr 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2024

Bibliographical note

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence.

Funder

The authors would like to acknowledge the EPSRC for funding (EP/P031382/1).
IB would like to acknowledge the University of Bath for funding his PhD.

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