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Synthesis and Characterization of Electrospun Polyacrylonitrile/Graphene Nanofibers Embedded with SrTiO3/NiO Nanoparticles for Water Splitting

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For over two decades, various photocatalysts have been investigated and tested under infrared, visible and UV light sources. This study reports the synthesis of nickel oxide-loaded strontium titanate (NiO–SrTiO3) particles on electrospun polyacrylonitrile (PAN) nanofibers embedded with graphene nanoplatelets for improved water splitting. In this study, graphene nanoplatelets were first dispersed in dimethylformamide (DMF), sonicated for 30 minutes, and then polyacrylonitrile (PAN) powder was added to the previous solution to make PAN polymeric dispersions prior to the electrospinning process. After oxidizing at 270 °C for 2 hrs, the electrospun PAN nanofibers were immersed in a solution containing ethanol, titanium(IV)-isopropoxide [C12H28O4Ti] and strontium nitrate [Sr(NO3)2]. This solution was then amended with NiO nanoparticles dispersed in toluene. The surface treated PAN fibers were annealed at 600 °C in air for 1 hr to transform them into a crystalline form for better photocatalyst efficiency. Ultraviolet (UV) spectrophotometry, Fourier transform infrared radiation (FTIR), and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) techniques were used to characterize the structural properties of the graphene/PAN carbon fibers incorporated with NiO–SrTiO3. The morphology and dimensions of the nanofibers were observed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The structures of the calcined nanofibers were determined by Raman spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction (XRD).
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Keywords: Electrospinning; Photocatalyst; Photon Energy; Ultraviolet; Visible Light; Water Splitting

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Mechanical Engineering, Wichita State University, Wichita, KS 67260, United States 2: Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Majmaah University, Al-Majmaah 11952, P.O. Box. 66, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 3: Department of Geology, Wichita State University, 1845 Fairmount, Wichita, KS 67260-0133, United States

Publication date: August 1, 2017

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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