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Educación química

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PENAS-GARZON, Manuel; MORENO-MEDINA, Irene; BEDIA, Jorge  and  BELVER, Carolina. Synthesis and evaluation of TiO2/active carbon photocatalysts: a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach for chemical engineering students. Educ. quím [online]. 2023, vol.34, n.1, pp.128-142.  Epub May 26, 2023. ISSN 0187-893X.

The use of photocatalysis for the abatement of contaminants in water bodies has attracted increasing attention in the last decades, and this should be also reflected in the scientific background of undergraduate chemical engineering students. To expand their competencies in this issue, a five-sessions multidisciplinary experiment is herein introduced. It is composed of three sequential laboratory stages: synthesis of photocatalysts, non-supported and supported TiO2 (including the step-by-step description of the preparation of the activated carbon and the solvothermal synthesis of TiO2); structural and optical characterization of samples, and the evaluation of the photocatalytic activity (in the solar-assisted degradation of acetaminophen, commercially paracetamol) and separation from the solution; and an additional one regarding the presentation and discussion of results. Results show that the non-supported TiO2 performs the fastest degradation of the contaminant, whereas the supported photocatalyst (TiO2/AC) has the highest settling velocity (and thus, easier recovery from the medium). Therefore, students are encouraged to consider both aspects for the general application of a photocatalyst, giving them a multidisciplinary insight into how photocatalysts can be used for environmental protection and developing their conception of environmental justice and its importance in chemical engineering.

Keywords : Chemical Engineering; Photocatalysis; Environmental Protection; Cooperative Learning; Multidisciplinary Experiment.

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