First Insights into Photocatalytic Degradation of HDPE and LDPE Microplastics by a Mesoporous N-TiO(2)Coating: Effect of Size and Shape of Microplastics

Date of publication 17 August 2020

Authors Llorente-Garcia, Brenda Estefania; Hernandez-Lopez, Juan Manuel; Zaldivar-Cadena, Antonio Alberto; Siligardi, Cristina; Cedillo-Gonzalez, Erika Iveth.

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Microplastics (MPs), which are small plastic debris of <= 5 mm size, are polluting the oceans with negative consequences for their biota. In this work, visible-light photocatalysis of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and low-density polyethylene (LDPE) MPs in aqueous medium using a mesoporous N-TiO(2)coating is proposed as an alternative for fighting MP pollution. Spherical primary HDPE MPs were extracted from commercially available facial scrubs, while film-shaped secondary LDPE MPs were obtained from a plastic bag. For each plastic, two different sizes were tested. Degradation was measured by mass-loss and carbonyl-index (CI) calculation. The results obtained reveal that the photocatalytic degradation of HDPE and LDPE MPs using an N-TiO(2)coating was affected by the size and shape of the MPs. Smaller MPs led to higher degradation, while film-shaped MPs led to lower degradation that was related to a poorly illuminated and oxygenated reaction medium. These results set the basis for further investigation on the on the design of more effective photocatalytic-reaction systems for decreasing MP inputs to the environment.

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