Titanium dioxide is used to kill viruses and bacteria and to decompose organics via photocatalysis.
Andrew Barron and colleagues, Rice University, USA, have shown that addition of silicone to TiO2 dramatically increases its ability to degrade aerosol- and water-borne viruses. Treatment of TiO2(P25) in glass flasks sealed with silicone grease resulted in a significant improvement in the catalytic activity of titania as did the purposeful reaction of TiO2(P25) with 2.5 wt % silica. The rate constant for the irradiation of viruses was three times higher with addition of silica.
The increased activity and low cost of the reagents makes this a very promising alternative for use as a disinfectant for water systems. Initial testing using the Yangtze River, considered the most polluted river in the world, as a baseline, showed complete destruction of viruses in minutes.
- Simple Route to Enhanced Photocatalytic Activity of P25 Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles by Silica Addition
H. R. Jafry, M. V. Liga, Q. Li, A. R. Barron,
Environ. Sci. Technol. 2011.