Transparent Photocatalytic Thin Films on Flexible Polymer Substrates.

Materials (Basel, Switzerland) (2018-10-14)
Nives Vodišek, Andraž Šuligoj, Dorota Korte, Urška Lavrenčič Štangar

Self-cleaning and/or photocatalytic films on polymer substrates have found numerous applications during the past decades. However, the common demand for high-temperature post synthesis treatment limits the application to temperature resistant substrates only. Herein, we prepared self-cleaning photocatalytic films on four thermosensitive polymeric substrates: polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), and acryl coated polyester (PES) fabric (D2) with poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) containing lacquer (D1). TiO₂ was prepared via a low-temperature sol-gel process using titanium(IV) isopropoxide and zirconium(IV) butoxide as precursors with various loading levels of Zr; 0, 5, 10, and 20 mol.%, and deposited on the substrates by using a SiO₂ binder in form of thin films (ca. 200 nm thick) via dip-coating. The films were characterized by SEM, hardness test, UV-Vis, photothermal beam deflection spectroscopy, and IR spectroscopy, while photocatalytic activity was measured by the fluorescence-based method of the terephthalic acid probe and wetting by contact angle measurements. Films containing 10 mol.% of Zr showed the best compromise regarding photocatalytic activity and mechanical stability while from substrates point of view PVC performed the best, followed by PMMA, D1, and D2. The beneficial role of SiO₂ binder was not only guaranteeing excellent mechanical stability, but also to prevent the D1 polymer from deterioration; the latter was found to be labile to long-term solar-light exposure due to degradation of the top PVDF layer.

Product Number
Product Description

Tris(2-pyridylmethyl)amine, 98%
2-Hydroxyterephthalic acid, 97%