Zn-Al layered double hydroxides (LDH), before and after calcination, were tested for the removal of indigo carmine (IC) dye from solution. These LDH photocatalysts were characterized by powder x-ray diffraction (PXRD), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, thermogravimetry/differential thermogravimetry (TG/DTG), nitrogen physisorption at −196°C, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and diffuse reflectance spectrophotometry (DRS). The different photocatalysts were supported on polyacrylonitrile (PAN) nanofibres, so that filtration was unnecessary.
The PXRD and FTIR analyses showed that the IC adsorption on c-Zn-Al-3-500 (LDH calcined at 500°C) was enhanced by construction of the hydrotalcite matrix intercalated with the dye. The intercalation was clearly evidenced by the appearance of a peak at low °2θ values. All of the materials prepared exhibited photocatalytic activity, which for the c-Zn-Al-3-500 was comparable to that of commercial PAN-supported ZnO nanoparticles (100% degradation after 180 min). Kinetic studies showed that the degradation of the IC followed a pseudo-first order rate. The high activity and the ease of both synthesis and separation processes rendered this photocatalyst a promising candidate for environmental remediation.