Photocatalytic degradation of industrial pulp and paper mill effluent using synthesized magnetic Fe2O3-TiO2: treatment efficiency and characterizations of reused photocatalyst

Wennie Subramonian, Ta Yeong Wu, Siang Piao Chai

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    In this work, heterogeneous photocatalysis was used to treat pulp and paper mill effluent (PPME). Magnetically retrievable Fe2O3-TiO2 was fabricated by employing a solvent-free mechanochemical process under ambient conditions. Findings elucidated the successful incorporation of Fe2O3 into the TiO2 lattice. Fe2O3-TiO2 was found to be an irregular and slightly agglomerated surface morphology. In comparison to commercial P25, Fe2O3-TiO2 exhibited higher ferromagnetism and better catalyst properties with improvements in surface area (58.40 m2/g), pore volume (0.29 cm3/g), pore size (18.52 nm), and band gap (2.95 eV). Besides, reusability study revealed that Fe2O3-TiO2 was chemically stable and could be reused successively (five cycles) without significant changes in its photoactivity and intrinsic properties. Additionally, this study demonstrated the potential recovery of Fe2O3-TiO2 from an aqueous suspension by using an applied magnetic field or sedimentation. Interactive effects of photocatalytic conditions (initial effluent pH, Fe2O3-TiO2 dosage, and air flow-rate), reaction mechanism, and the presence of chemical oxidants (H2O2, BrO3, and HOCl) during the treatment process of PPME were also investigated. Under optimal conditions (initial effluent pH = 3.88, [Fe2O3-TiO2] = 1.3 g/L, and air flow-rate = 2.28 L/min), the treatment efficiency of Fe2O3-TiO2 was 98.5% higher than the P25. Based on Langmuir-Hinshelwood kinetic model, apparent rate constants of Fe2O3-TiO2 and P25 were 9.2 × 10−3 and 2.7 × 10−3 min−1, respectively. The present study revealed not only the potential of using magnetic Fe2O3-TiO2 in PPME treatment but also demonstrated high reusability and easy separation of Fe2O3-TiO2 from the wastewater.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)298-310
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Environmental Management
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017


    • Coagulation-flocculation
    • Green synthesis
    • Mechanochemical milling
    • Photocatalysis
    • Response surface methodology
    • Wastewater treatment

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