Self-cleaning photocatalytic coatings for biocalcarenite stones, based on TiO2 nanoparticles obtained by sol–gel processes at different pH values and also adding gold particles, have been investigated. The selected test material is a biocalcarenite named“pietra di Lecce”(Lecce stone), outcropping in Southern Italy. Scanning electron microscopy with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, and Raman investigations were carried out to characterize the TiO2 nanoparticles and coatings. Nanocrystalline anatase and, to a lesser extent, brookite phases are obtained. Photocatalytic activity of the TiO2 sols and of the coatings on “pietra di Lecce” was assessed under ultraviolet irradiation, monitoring methyl orange (MeO) dye degradation as a function of time. To evaluate the harmlessness of the treatment, colorimetric tests and water absorption by capillarity were performed. The results show good photodegradation rates for titania nanosols, particularly when putting in Au particles, whereas a satisfactory chromatic compatibility between the sol and the surface of the calcarenite is found only without Au addition.
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