Water splitting using photocatalyst has become a topic of recent investigation since it has the potential of producing hydrogen for clean energy from sunlight. An extensive number of solid photocatalysts have been studied for overall water splitting in recent years. In this study, two methods were employed to synthesize two different photocatalysts for water splitting. The first method describes the synthesis of nickel oxide-loaded strontium titanate (NiO-SrTiO3) particles on electrospun polyacrylonitrile (PAN) nanofibers incorporated with graphene nanoplatelets for water splitting. The electrospun PAN fibers were first oxidized at 270°C for two hours and subsequently immersed in a solution containing ethanol, titanium (IV)-isopropoxide [C12H28O4Ti] and strontium nitrate [Sr(NO3)2]. This solution was then treated with NiO nanoparticles dispersed in toluene. The surface treated PAN fibers were annealed at 600°C in air for 1 hour to transform fibers into a crystalline form for improved photocatalyst performance. In the second method, coaxial electrospinning process was used to produce core/shell strontium titanate/nickel oxide (SrTiO3-NiO) nanofibers. In coaxial method, poly (vinyl pyrrolidone) (PVP) was dissolved in deionized (DI) water, and then titanium (IV) isopropoxide [C12H28O4Ti] and strontium nitrate [Sr(NO3)2] were added into the solution to form the inner (core) layer. For outer (shell) solution, polyacrylonitrile (PAN) polymer was dissolved in dimethylformamide (DMF) at a weight ratio of 10:90 and then nickel oxide was mixed with the solution. Ultraviolet (UV) spectrophotometry and static contact angle measurement techniques were employed to characterize the structural properties of photocatalysts produced by both methods and a comparison was made between the two photocatalysts. The morphology and diameter of the nanofibers were observed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The structure and crystallinity of the calcined nanofibers were also observed by means of X-ray diffraction (XRD).
Abdulaziz Alharbi, Ibrahim M. Alarifi, Waseem S. Khan, and Ramazan Asmatulu, "Comparative studies on different nanofiber photocatalysts for water splitting," Proc. SPIE 9806, Smart Materials and Nondestructive Evaluation for Energy Systems 2016, 980611 (Presented at SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring: March 23, 2016; Published: 1 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2235540.
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