Structure and properties of innovative silica hybrid materials synthesized for environmental applications


Today, environmental protection is one of the main goals in the strive to preserve the human existence. Development in this area requires invention of new materials, which can reduce the levels of pollution. Hybrid materials are suitable for this purpose, because they combine different desirable properties existing in separate sources into one unique and accessible structure. Most of the commonly used materials for the degradation of different kind of pollutants are based on titanium dioxide, because of its photocatalytic activity under UV irradiation. Innovative silica hybrid materials, containing an organic component (chitosan) and titanium nanoparticles, were successfully synthesized via the sol-gel method and tetraethyl orthosilicate was used as a silica source and network former. Interaction between the chitosan and titanium units, and their influence on the structure of final material, were observed and discussed. A homogeneous structure with an even distribution of titanium and chitosan particles was visible from scanning electron microscopy (SEM) micrographs and the particle size varied between 50 and 150 nm. The formed silica network, characteristic peaks of chitosan and titanium groups and possible interactions between them are observed from Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy spectra and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy results. The behaviour of the synthesized silica hybrids after thermal treatment was investigated via differential thermal/thermo-gravimetric analysis (DTA/TG) analysis and the sorption and degradation activities of the obtained hybrid materials were investigated using a solution of methyl orange as model pollutant. The structure and properties of the synthesized silica hybrid materials assert their potential application in environmental remediation due to their photocatalytic degradation and sorption activities against pollutants.



subject category

Biotechnology & Applied Microbiology


Todorova, E; Chernev, G; Okolie, N; Salvado, IM

our authors


This study was supported by the European Social Fund [grant number BG051PO001-3.3.06-0014].

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