New composite aids removal of dye pollutants from water

Materials World magazine
19 Jul 2017

A new composite material could help combat the 300,000 tonnes of environmentally harmful synthetic dye released into the world’s water.

The photocatalytic composite, developed by a Swansea University, USA, research team, is synthesised by growing tungsten oxide nanowires on a surface of tantalum nitride nanoparticles, which breaks the dye down into smaller, harmless molecules via photocatalytic degradation.

Lead researchers Dr Charles Dunnill and Dr Daniel Jones claim the material is capable of adsorbing 90% of hazardous dye, with this efficiency reached by the exchange of electrons between the two materials, breaking down the dye at double the rate achieved by tantalum nitride alone.

Dr Jones said, ‘Now that we’ve demonstrated the capabilities of our composite, we aim to not just improve on the material further, but to also begin work on scaling up the synthesis for real-world application. We’re also exploring its visibility in other areas such as the photocatalysed splitting of water to generate hydrogen.’