A new method to manufacture cloth involving the use of a common industrial bleaching agent promises an environmentally safe way for waste water filtration.

Methyl blue is a toxic organic dye generally used for staining biological samples. Image: Wikipedia

Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is an odourless white powder used as an industrial and commercial bleaching agent for paint, paper, pharmaceuticals and plastics, and as a photocatalyst in the manufacture of semiconductor chips.

 

Because it is an active photocatalyst, mixing titanium dioxide with certain organic contaminants, then subjecting them to ultraviolet light to create a photochemical reaction, is an effective way to degrade and neutralize them.

Michelle Marie S. Villamayor of the University of the Philippines Diliman is focusing on using TiO2-deposited filter cloth to remove a toxic organic dye, called methyl blue, from waste water more safely and efficiently. Methyl blue is used for staining biological samples.

Current methods for making TiO2-deposited filter cloth involve many steps and spawn a number of undesirable acid and chemical by-products along the way. The new method, by contrast, uses a single-step plasma process to “sputter-deposit” a thin film of TiO2 onto filter cloth under vacuum conditions, with no toxic by-products.

Villamayor’s research is part of a partnership with Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan, that aims to find new ways to use semiconductor photocatalysts to oxidise and neutralise organic wastes in waste water treatment.

 

 

For further information contact:

Ms Michelle Marie Villamayor
National Institute of Physics
University of the Philippines Diliman
Email: mvillamayor@nip.upd.edu.ph