A novel continuous-flow photocatalytic reactor was designed to decompose toluene by using porous nickel sheets that were coated with a Fe-doped TiO2 catalyst. While locating the UV lamp at the central axis, the catalyst sheets were located along the inner wall and positioned vertically with an equal space of 50 mm along the reactor. This geometry ensures better use of UV light, and a zigzag flow pattern of gas between the vertically located sheets provides for better mass transfer. The X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscope and electric field–induced surface photovoltage spectra characterizations showed that Fe3 ions were embedded effectively and distributed evenly throughout the TiO2 crystal lattice and an optimum molar ratio of Fe:Ti was 0.007. The reactor was used to investigate the factors that affect toluene degradation. The results showed that inlet toluene concentration, relative humidity and gas flow rate significantly affect toluene decomposition. The conversion decreases as inlet concentration increases. Degradation efficiencies of more than 95% can be achieved provided that the toluene concentration is kept below 3200 mg/m3. The conversion is affected little when oxygen content exceeds 21%. The optimal relative humidity is 25%. From the experimental data, a rate constant k of 131 mg/(m3·min) and Langmuir adsorption coefficient K of 0.0175 m3/mg were obtained.
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Vol. 81 • No. 2