The textile industry consumes a large volume of organic dyes and water. These organic dyes, which remained in the effluents, are usually persistent and difficult to degrade by conventional wastewater treatment techniques. If the wastewater is not treated properly and is discharged into water system, it will cause environmental pollution and risk to living organisms. To mitigate these impacts, the photo-driven catalysis process using semiconductor materials emerges as a promising approach. The semiconductor photocatalysts are able to remove the organic effluent through their mineralization and decolorization abilities. Besides the commonly used titanium dioxide (TiO2), manganese dioxide (MnO2) is a potential photocatalyst for wastewater treatment. MnO2 has a narrow bandgap energy of 1~2 eV. Thus, it possesses high possibility to be driven by visible light and infrared light for dye degradation. This paper reviews the MnO2-based photocatalysts in various aspects, including its fundamental and photocatalytic mechanisms, recent progress in the synthesis of MnO2 nanostructures in particle forms and on supporting systems, and regeneration of photocatalysts for repeated use. In addition, the effect of various factors that could affect the photocatalytic performance of MnO2 nanostructures are discussed, followed by the future prospects of the development of this semiconductor photocatalysts towards commercialization.
This review summarises the major developments of macroporous bioceramics used mainly for repairing bone defects. Porous bioceramics have been receiving attention ever since their larger surface area was reported to be beneficial for the formation of more rigid bonds with host tissues. The study of porous bioceramics is important to overcome the less favourable bonds formed between dense bioceramics and host tissues, especially in healing bone defects. Macroporous bioceramics, which have been studied extensively, include hydroxyapatite, tricalcium phosphate, alumina, and zirconia. The pore size and interconnections both have significant effects on the growth rate of bone tissues. The optimum pore size of hydroxyapatite scaffolds for bone growth was found to be 300 µm. The existence of interconnections between pores is critical during the initial stage of tissue ingrowth on porous hydroxyapatite scaffolds. Furthermore, pore formation on β-tricalcium phosphate scaffolds also allowed the impregnation of growth factors and cells to improve bone tissues growth significantly. The formation of vascularised tissues was observed on macroporous alumina but did not take place in the case of dense alumina due to its bioinert nature. A macroporous alumina coating on scaffolds was able to improve the overall mechanical properties, and it enabled the impregnation of bioactive materials that could increase the bone growth rate. Despite the bioinertness of zirconia, porous zirconia was useful in designing scaffolds with superior mechanical properties after being coated with bioactive materials. The pores in zirconia were believed to improve the bone growth on the coated system. In summary, although the formation of pores in bioceramics may adversely affect mechanical properties, the advantages provided by the pores are crucial in repairing bone defects.
As methyltheobromine (MTB) has been increasingly detected in wastewater, it would be necessary to develop more intensive and effective approaches to remove MTB. As Co species immobilized on carbonaceous materials appears as a promising catalyst, doping carbon with nitrogen has been also validated to significantly enhance catalytic activities for Oxone activation. Therefore, it is desired to develop a composite of immobilizing Co species on N-doped carbonaceous supports for activating Oxone to degrade MTB. Unfortunately, very few studies have demonstrated such composites for activating Oxone to degrade MTB as this type of composites are conventionally prepared via complex procedures. Alternatively, this study aims to develop such a composite conveniently by using a cobaltic coordination polymer (CP) as a precursor. Specifically Co2+ and 4,4-bipyridine (BIPY) are selected for formulating a special one-dimensional CP, which is then carbonized to convert Co to Co nanoparticles (NPs) and transform BIPY to carbon nitride (CN) matrices. Because of 1-D coordinated structure of CoBIPY, the resulting magnetic Co NPs are well-distributed and protected within CN to form a magnetic Co-embedded carbon nitride composite (MCoCN). In comparison to pristine CN and Co3O4, MCoCN exhibits much higher catalytic activities to activate Oxone for degrading MTB completely within 7 min. MCoCN also shows a much lower activation energy of 24.6 kJ/mol than other reported catalysts for activating Oxone to degrade MTB. The findings of this study validate that the 1-D coordination polymer of CoBIPY is a useful precursor to prepare MCoCN for effectively activating Oxone to degrade MTB.
Urea removal is an important process in household wastewater purification and hemodialysis treatment. The efficiency of the urea removal can be improved by utilizing activated carbon fiber (ACF) for effective urea adsorption. In this study, ACF was prepared from oil palm empty fruit bunch (EFB) fiber via physicochemical activation using sulfuric acid as an activating reagent. Based on the FESEM result, ACF obtained after the carbonization and activation processes demonstrated uniform macropores with thick channel wall. ACF was found better prepared in 1.5:1 acid-to-EFB fiber ratio; where the pore size of ACF was analyzed as 1.2 nm in diameter with a predominant micropore volume of 0.39 cm(3) g(-1) and a BET surface area of 869 m(2) g(-1). The reaction kinetics of urea adsorption by the ACF was found to follow a pseudo-second order kinetic model. The equilibrium amount of urea adsorbed on ACF decreased from 877.907 to 134.098 mg g(-1) as the acid-to-fiber ratio increased from 0.75 to 4. During the adsorption process, the hydroxyl (OH) groups on ACF surface were ionized and became electronegatively charged due to the weak alkalinity of urea solution, causing ionic repulsion towards partially anionic urea. The ionic repulsion force between the electronegatively charged ACF surface and urea molecules became stronger when more OH functional groups appeared on ACF prepared at higher acid impregnation ratio. The results implied that EFB fiber based ACF can be used as an efficient adsorbent for the urea removal process.
Hydroxyapatite is an ideal biomaterial for bone tissue engineering due to its biocompatibility and hemocompatibility which have been widely studied by many researchers. The incorporation of nanoporosity into hydroxyapatite could transform the biomaterial into an effective adsorbent for uremic toxins removal especially in artificial kidney system. However, the effect of nanoporosity incorporation on the hemocompatibility of hydroxyapatite has yet to be answered. In this study, nanoporous hydroxyapatite was synthesized using hydrothermal technique and its hemocompatibility was determined. Non-ionic surfactants were used as soft templates to create porosity in the hydroxyapatite. The presence of pure hydroxyapatite phase in the synthesized samples is validated by X-ray diffraction analysis and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The TEM images show that the hydroxyapatite formed rod-like particles with the length of 21-90 nm and diameter of 11-70 nm. The hydroxyapatite samples exhibit BET surface area of 33-45 m2 g-1 and pore volume of 0.35-0.44 cm3 g-1. The hemocompatibility of the hydroxyapatite was determined via hemolysis test, platelet adhesion, platelet activation and blood clotting time measurement. The nanoporous hydroxyapatite shows less than 5% hemolysis, suggesting that the sample is highly hemocompatible. There is no activation and morphological change observed on the platelets adhered onto the hydroxyapatite. The blood clotting time demonstrates that the blood incubated with the hydroxyapatite did not coagulate. This study summarizes that the synthesized nanoporous hydroxyapatite is a highly hemocompatible biomaterial and could potentially be utilized in biomedical applications.