All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Melinda M Lalor

Advisory Committee Members

Barry Andrews

Krishnan Chawla

Derrick Dean

Robert Pitt

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Public Health


The potential applicability of titania coated hollow glass microspheres (HGMs) to the photocatalytic degradation of microbiological and organic chemical water pollutants could have dramatic positive effects on improving the quality of industrial wastewaters that empty into rivers and streams, as well as potential use in economically improving the quality of drinking water. Heterogeneous photocatalysis using titania has been extensively studied since the 1990’s because of its non-toxic nature, its high quantum yield of electrons and photo-holes, and its ability to use ambient solar radiation as a power source. Although titania embodies extraordinarily attractive properties for a range of environmental applications, a viable substrate or method of using the material effectively has not been recognized. HGMs are particularly attractive as a support for titania because of their low density and high surface area to volume ratio, but details of how they react to imposed loading, wear, and impact have not been addressed, nor have materials engineering analyses that could maximize their utility been made. In this study we have examined the microstructure, morphology and microcompression properties of two types of titania coated hollow microspheres, a commercially produced HGM and cenospheres, a derivative of fly ash. Comparisons of uncoated and titania coated hollow microspheres showed improved failure loads and facture energies for the titania coated materials over the uncoated hollow microspheres. Also, the relationship between failure load and hollow microsphere diameter was iii iii characterized and the function employed to explain part of the gain in average failure load for the HGMs. Microscopic examination of titania coated HGMs that were subjected to various turbulent conditions, as well as intentional fracture, indicated good interfacial integrity, which supports the viability of both types of HGMs for potential applications. The photocatalytic reactivity of the titania coated system was validated though the degradation of a synthetic Procion dye in ambient solar UV exposure. The phases of titania present on the coatings of both types of HGMs were studied by Raman spectroscopy, verifying predominantly the anatase phase, but identifying limited rutile phase for the titania coated cenospheres. Additionally, a dramatic increase in the surface area of the HGMs with the addition of the titania coating was observed through BET analysis, which directly impacts the reaction rate of the system.

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