Adsorption and photocatalysed destruction of cationic and anionic dyes on mesoporous titania films: reactions at the air-solid interface

A. Mills, M. Sheik, C. O'Rourke, M. McFarlane

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32 Citations (Scopus)


Cationic dyes, such as methylene blue (MB), Thionine (TH) and Basic Fuschin (BF), but not anionic dyes, such as Acid Orange 7 (AO7), Acid Blue 9 (AB9) and Acid Fuschin (AF), are readily adsorbed onto mesoporous titania films at high pH (pH 11), i.e. well above the pzc of titania (pH 6.5), due to electrostatic forces of attraction and repulsion, respectively. The same anionic dyes, but not the cationic dyes, are readily adsorbed on the same titania films at low pH (pH 3), i.e. well below titania's pzc. MB appears to adsorb on mesoporous titania films at pH 11 as the trimer (λmax = 570 nm) but, upon drying, although the trimer still dominates, there is an absorption peak at 665 nm, especially notable at low [MB], which may be due to the monomer, but more likely MB J-aggregates. In contrast, the absorption spectrum of AO7 adsorbed onto the mesoporous titania film at low pH is very similar to the dye monomer. For both MB and AO7 the kinetics of adsorption are first order and yield high rate constants (3.71 and 1.48 l g−1 min−1), indicative of a strong adsorption process. Indeed, both MB and AO7 stained films retained much of their colour when left overnight in dye-free pH 11 and 3 solutions, respectively, indicating the strong nature of the adsorption. The kinetics of the photocatalytic bleaching of the MB-titania films at high pH are complex and not well-described by the Julson-Ollis kinetic model [A.J. Julson, D.F. Ollis, Appl. Catal. B. 65 (2006) 315]. Instead, there appears to be an initial fast but not simple demethylation step, followed by a zero-order bleaching and further demethylation steps. In contrast, the kinetics of photocatalytic bleaching of the AO7-titania film give a good fit to the Julson-Ollis kinetic model, yielding values for the various fitting parameters not too dissimilar to those reported for AO7 adsorbed on P25 titania powder.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-195
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Catalysis B: Environmental
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2009


  • photocatalysis
  • dye
  • methylene blue
  • acid orange 7
  • AO7
  • adsorption
  • air-solid


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