Photocatalytic decolorisation and degradation of Reactive Red 120 (RR 120) has been investigated under UV (365 nm) and solar light as radiation sources using synthesised nano titania catalyst prepared via sol-gel method. The study encompassed calcination of synthesised titania catalyst at a range of temperature up to 1,000°C. The effects of calcination temperature on titania catalyst have been evaluated on the decolorisation of RR 120. The analysis revealed complete decolorisation of dye solution in 100 min under UV light with the TiO2 catalyst calcined at 200°C. Only a maximum of 47% dye decolorisation was achieved under sunlight in 4 h with no improvement even after prolonged irradiation. In an endeavour to improve the catalytic activity, bare titania was modified with silver metal and a comprehensive study on the characteristics of silver modified catalyst was made. The result was an enhancement of the rate of decolorisation of dye under both UV and solar light sources. All the catalysts were characterised by XRD and BET analyses. Optimisation of the degradation of RR 120 has been carried out using the unmodified catalyst by varying the amount of catalyst, substrate concentration, pH of dye solution. Effects of addition of small amounts of various oxidants such as H2O2, KBrO3 and (NH4)2S2O8 have also been studied. Pseudo first order kinetics was observed in the photocatalytic decolorisation of dye. The mineralisation of RR 120 was monitored by TOC analysis.
Keywords: mineralisation, nano titania, photocatalysis, reactive red 120, solar light