Engineers at Swansea University in Wales have developed a novel composite material that uses solar energy to remove synthetic dye pollutants from water.
Each year, around 300,000 tonnes of harmful dye pollutants are released into the world’s water supplies. Addressing this problem is a major focus for the global textile industry.
While research into so-called photocatalytic materials (which use sunlight to break down pollutants) have long been thought promising, the efficiency of existing materials is limited as they only absorb higher energy, ultra-violet light.
Developed by a team at the University’s Energy Safety Research Institute (ESRI) the new material, a composite of tantalum nitride and tungsten oxide, is claimed to be able to remove pollutants at a far superior rate. The work is reported in Nature’s Scientific Reports journal.
The composite is synthesised by growing ultra-thin “nanowires” of tungsten oxide on the surface of tiny particles of tantalum nitride. As a result of the incredibly small size of the two material components – both the tantalum nitride and tungsten oxide are typically less than 40 billionths of a metre in diameter – the composite provides a huge surface area for dye capture.
For the full article, click here