Titanium dioxide (TiO2) can be used to realize transparent self-cleaning coatings on stone surfaces as an active and preventive protection system, limiting cleaning and maintenance actions, reducing their costs in Architectural Heritage. This self-cleaning ability is due to photo-induced hydrophilicity on treated surfaces. The aim of this investigation is to analyze this effect, since it could bring to a greater water absorption, a potential source of damage for stone surfaces. Titania sol, obtained by sol-gel and hydrothermal processes, was deposited on travertine by spray coating, in two different ways. Water absorption by capillarity, static contact angle and a specific surface water absorption analysis were assessed before and after the TiO2 treatments. The effects of deposited amount of titania on the characteristics of treated surfaces were evaluated. It was shown that there were no evident changes in the substrate reactivity without ultraviolet (UV) light exposure, while it seems that hydrophilicity due to UV light does not lead to higher water absorption, thus encouraging the use of TiO2 coatings in the field of Architectural Heritage. However, before widely applying this conservative treatment, some further researches are recommended in order to better assess its durability and sustainability.
Self-cleaning materials on Architectural Heritage: Compatibility of photo-induced hydrophilicity of TiO2 coatings on stone surfaces / E. Quagliarini;F. Bondioli;G. B. Goffredo;A. Licciulli;P. Munafò. - In: JOURNAL OF CULTURAL HERITAGE. - ISSN 1296-2074. - 14(2013), pp. 1-7. [10.1016/j.culher.2012.02.006]
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