Conversion of "Waste Plastic" into Photocatalytic Nanofoams for Environmental Remediation

Geovania C. De Assis, Euzébio Skovroinski, Valderi D. Leite, Marcelo O. Rodrigues, André Galembeck, Mary C.F. Alves, Julian Eastoe*, Rodrigo J. De Oliveira

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
284 Downloads (Pure)


Plastic debris is a major environmental concern, and to find effective ways to reuse polystyrene (PS) presents major challenges. Here, it is demonstrated that polystyrene foams impregnated with SnO2 are easily generated from plastic debris and can be applied to photocatalytic degradation of dyes. SnO2 nanoparticles were synthesized by a polymeric precursor method, yielding specific surface areas of 15 m2/g after heat treatment to 700 °C. Crystallinity, size, and shape of the SnO2 particles were assessed by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM), demonstrating the preparation of crystalline spherical nanoparticles with sizes around 20 nm. When incorporated into PS foams, which were generated using a thermally induced phase separation (TIPS) process, the specific surface area increased to 48 m2/g. These PS/SnO2 nanofoams showed very good efficiency for photodegradation of rhodamine B, under UV irradiation, achieving up to 98.2% removal. In addition the PS/SnO2 nanofoams are shown to retain photocatalytic activity for up to five reuse cycles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8077-8085
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number9
Early online date20 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2018


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