Self-Cleaning Ceramic Tiles Produced via Stable Coating of TiO₂ Nanoparticles

Materials (Basel). 2018 Jun 13;11(6):1003. doi: 10.3390/ma11061003.


The high photocatalytic power of TiO₂ nanoparticles has drawn great attention in environmental and medical applications. Coating surfaces with these particles enables us to benefit from self-cleaning properties and decomposition of pollutants. In this paper, two strategies have been introduced to coat ceramic tiles with TiO₂ nanoparticles, and the self-cleaning effect of the surfaces on degradation of an organic dye under ultraviolent (UV) exposure is investigated. In the first approach, a simple one-step heat treatment method is introduced for coating, and different parameters of the heat treatment process are examined. In the second method, TiO₂ nanoparticles are first aminosilanized using (3-Aminopropyl)triethoxysilane (APTES) treatment followed by their covalently attachment onto CO₂ plasma treated ceramic tiles via N-(3-Dimethylaminopropyl)-N′-ethylcarbodiimide hydrochloride (EDC) and N-Hydroxysuccinimide (NHS) chemistry. We monitor TiO₂ nanoparticle sizes throughout the coating process using dynamic light scattering (DLS) and characterize developed surfaces using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Moreover, hydrophilicity of the coated surfaces is quantified using a contact angle measurement. It is shown that applying a one-step heat treatment process with the optimum temperature of 200 °C for 5 h results in successful coating of nanoparticles and rapid degradation of dye in a short time. In the second strategy, the APTES treatment creates a stable covalent coating, while the photocatalytic capability of the particles is preserved. The results show that coated ceramic tiles are capable of fully degrading the added dyes under UV exposure in less than 24 h.

Keywords: APTES treatment; TiO2 nanoparticles; heat treatment; photocatalyst; self-cleaning.