Solid-phase photocatalytic degradation of polyethylene (PE) film with cryptomelane-type manganese oxide (OMS-2) as photocatalyst was investigated in the ambient air under ultraviolet and visible light irradiation. The properties of the composite films were compared with those of the pure PE film through performing weight loss monitoring, IR spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopic (SEM) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The photoinduced degradation of PE-OMS-2 composite films was higher than that of the pure films, while there has been little change under the visible light irradiation. The weight loss of PE-OMS-2 (1.0 wt%) composite films steadily decreased and reached 16.5% in 288 h under UV light irradiation. Through SEM observation there were some cavities on the surface of composite films, but few change except some surface chalking phenomenon occurred in pure PE film. The degradation rate with ultraviolet irradiation is controllable by adjusting the content of OMS-2 particles in PE plastic. Finally, the mechanism of photocatalytic degradation of the composite films was briefly discussed.
The surface morphology of the films with photodegradation was observed by the scanning electron microscope. After 288 h irradiation, the surfaces of the composite films were more severe degradation. The size and depth of the cavities were increased to 6–10 μm and 3–4 μm, respectively. It implied that OMS-2 can make the photodegradation of PE film under UV light irradiation.