Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate)-based hybrid materials with photocatalytic and magnetic properties prepared by electrospinning and electrospraying

Significance Statement

The creation of a new generation of advanced materials is a great challenge for researchers and industry. In this respect, the cutting edge technology electrospinning is currently considered to be the most effective and promising method for obtaining micro- and nanofibrous materials. The combining of the beneficial properties of the polymers from renewable sources with those of inorganic metal oxide nanoparticles enables the fabrication of hybrid polymer-inorganic materials with targeted properties. Such hybrid materials have attracted much interest due to the variety of potential applications in a growing number of areas, such as regenerative medicine, in solving problems concerning water and air purification from organic pollutants, etc.

The focus of the herein presented work is on fabrication of advanced hybrid materials composed of biodegradable polymers – poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB), chitosan (Ch) and chitosan oligomers (COS), as well as inorganic nanoparticles – titanium dioxide (TiO2) and iron oxide (Fe3O4). It was demonstrated that by conjunction of electrospinning and electrospraying techniques, facile and effective tailoring of the design and properties (photocatalytic and magnetic) of the hybrid materials can achieved. The obtained poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) -based hybrid fibrous materials exhibited the magnetic properties of the embedded iron oxide and the photocatalytic properties of titanium dioxide and preserved them after threefold use in the presence of a model organic pollutant – methylene blue. Thus, the obtained hybrid fibrous materials are promising for applications, such as water and air purification from organic contaminants by heterogeneous photocatalysis with subsequent easy removal by applying external magnetic field. Additional advantage of the proposed techniques is that the transfer to industrial scale is easily feasible.

Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate)-based hybrid materials with photocatalytic and magnetic properties prepared by electrospinning and electrospraying.

Journal of Materials Science,  2014, Volume 49, Issue 5, pp 2144-2153.

Elena Korina, Olya Stoilova, Nevena Manolova, Iliya Rashkov.

Laboratory of Bioactive Polymers, Institute of Polymers, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Acad. G. Bonchev St, bl. 103A, 1113, Sofia, Bulgaria.



Several types of nanostructured hybrid fibrous materials containing poly(3-hydroxybutyrate), nanoparticles from iron oxide (Fe3O4) and titanium dioxide (TiO2), and chitosan or chitosan oligosaccharides (COS) were prepared. The design of the surface of the materials and their magnetic properties were tailored purposefully by conjunction of electrospinning and electrospraying. The surface and bulk morphologies of the obtained nanostructured materials were examined by SEM. Further, the distribution of Fe3O4 and TiO2 nanoparticles was estimated by TEM analyses, as well as their surface chemical composition was determined by XPS. It was found that the simultaneous electrospinning and electrospraying of Fe3O4/chitosan or TiO2/COS dispersions resulted in uniform distribution of the nanoparticles along the length of the fibers, while electrospraying of the mixed Fe3O4/TiO2/chitosan dispersion led to agglomerate formation. Furthermore, the nanostructured hybrid materials preserved the magnetic properties of Fe3O4embedded therein. It was demonstrated that the hybrid materials of different designs displayed excellent photocatalytic activity under UV light irradiation against a model organic contaminant—methylene blue, even after threefold use of the materials.

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