Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Chemical Engineering

Major Professor

D. Yogi Goswami

Co-Major Professor

Elias K. Stefanakos


contaminant, mass transfer, photocatalysis, roughness, turbulence, ZnO


Photocatalysis is a promising technique for the remediation of indoor air pollution. Photocatalysis utilizes semiconductor photocatalysts (such as TiO2 or ZnO) and appropriate light to produce strong oxidizing agents (OH*) that are able to break down organic compounds and inactivate bacteria and viruses. The overall goal of the research is to develop an efficient photocatalytic reactor based on mass transfer for indoor air purification. This study has focused on the enhancement of the effectiveness of the photocatalytic process by the introduction of artificial roughness on the reactor catalyst surface. The major effect of artificial roughness elements on the catalytic surface is to create local wall turbulence and enhance the convective mass transfer of the contaminants to the catalyst surface and thus lead to an increase in the effectiveness of photocatalysis.

Air flow properties in a model photoreactor channel with various roughness patterns on the interior wall surface were theoretically investigated. The optimum shapes, sizes, and arrangements of roughness were determined for the maximum enhancement of turbulence intensity in the channel. The possible order of photocatalytic reactor performance for various roughness patterns was also determined. In order to verify the theoretical analysis results, experimental studies were carried out. A plate type photocatalytic reactor was designed and fabricated on the basis of the theoretical results. It was determined that the photocatalytic reactor performance is greatly improved with various rough catalyst surfaces. The experimental results verified the theoretical results. The relationship between the overall reaction rate constant (k) of the reactor and the magnitude of the turbulence intensity was found out. An empirical correlation expression was also proposed. This is the first study of the effect mass transfer in a rough catalytic surface for photocatalytic reactor.

Photocatalyst development has also been studied. Zinc oxide (ZnO) and iron doped zinc oxide (ZnO/Fe) nanowires were synthesized on glass substrates through a conventional hydrothermal method. The photocatalytic activities under ultraviolet (UV) light and white light irradiation were separately investigated. The ZnO/Fe nanowires exhibited an enhanced photocatalytic activity as compared to ZnO nanowires regardless of the type of contaminants and light sources.