Ultrason Sonochem. 2023 Aug 6;99:106550. doi: 10.1016/j.ultsonch.2023.106550. Online ahead of print.
To solve low mass transfer in photocatalytic technology for water treatment, the combination of photoactive nanoparticles with highly adsorptive materials has been regarded as a successful approach. The optimization of photoactive particle coating in terms of dispersion on the surface of adsorbing support is the main key to reach a maximum synergism for pollutants removal. This study discusses the coating of as-prepared biomass based activated carbon by g-C3N4 using three routes, namely ball milling (AC-CN@BM), physical stirring (AC-CN@Phy) and ultrasonic assisted coating (AC-CN@US). The coating mechanisms by different processes were discussed using different characterization techniques. Ball milling based coating provides good g-C3N4 dispersion on the surface of AC, however, a partial degradation of g-C3N4 structure and a lower surface area were confirmed by FTIR, XRD and BET analysis. Physically designed sample shows a significant agglomeration of particles on the surface of AC. However, ultrasonic coating provides excellent distribution of g-C3N4 and high surface of the composite. In terms of photoactivity, AC-CN@BM exhibits the lowest adsorption and photocatalytic activity under solar light for the removal of ciprofloxacin. AC-CN@Phy showed medium performance, but less physical stability of g-C3N4 particles on AC, leading to their partial release. AC-CN@US showed the highest efficiency and stability after using; suggesting the good combination between g-C3N4 and AC, which in turn maximizes the removal of ciprofloxacin via Adsorb & shuttle process. The overall costs of composite, including the starting elements and the coating ultrasonic process are relatively low and green as compared to commonly reported routes.