Coatings2014, 4(3), 553-573; doi:10.3390/coatings4030553 (doi registration under processing) - published online 31 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Photocatalytic concrete constitutes a promising technique to reduce a number of air contaminants such as NOx and VOC’s, especially at sites with a high level of pollution: highly trafficked canyon streets, road tunnels, the urban environment, etc. Ideally, the photocatalyst, titanium dioxide, is introduced in the top layer of the concrete pavement for best results. In addition, the combination of TiO2 with cement-based products offers some synergistic advantages, as the reaction products can be adsorbed at the surface and subsequently be washed away by rain. A first application has been studied by the Belgian Road Research Center (BRRC) on the side roads of a main entrance axis in Antwerp with the installation of 10.000 m² of photocatalytic concrete paving blocks. For now however, the translation of laboratory testing towards results in situ remains critical of demonstrating the effectiveness in large scale applications. Moreover, the durability of the air cleaning characteristic with time remains challenging for application in concrete roads. From this perspective, several new trial applications have been initiated in Belgium in recent years to assess the “real life” behavior, including a field site set up in the Leopold II tunnel of Brussels and the construction of new photocatalytic pavements on industrial zones in the cities of Wijnegem and Lier (province of Antwerp). This paper first gives a short overview of the photocatalytic principle applied in concrete, to continue with some main results of the laboratory research recognizing the important parameters that come into play. In addition, some of the methods and results, obtained for the existing application in Antwerp (2005) and during the implementation of the new realizations in Wijnegem and Lier (2010–2012) and in Brussels (2011–2013), will be presented.
Coatings2014, 4(3), 527-552; doi:10.3390/coatings4030527 (doi registration under processing) - published online 31 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Investigations on the wetting, solubility and chemical composition of plasma polymer thin films provide an insight into the feasibility of implementing these polymeric materials in organic electronics, particularly where wet solution processing is involved. In this study, thin films were prepared from 1-isopropyl-4-methyl-1,4-cyclohexadiene (γ-Terpinene) using radio frequency (RF) plasma polymerization. FTIR showed the polymers to be structurally dissimilar to the original monomer and highly cross-linked, where the loss of original functional groups and the degree of cross-linking increased with deposition power. The polymer surfaces were hydrocarbon-rich, with oxygen present in the form of O–H and C=O functional groups. The oxygen content decreased with deposition power, with films becoming more hydrophobic and, thus, less wettable. The advancing and receding contact angles were investigated, and the water advancing contact angle was found to increase from 63.14° to 73.53° for thin films prepared with an RF power of 10 W to 75 W. The wetting envelopes for the surfaces were constructed to enable the prediction of the surfaces’ wettability for other solvents. The effect of roughness on the wetting behaviour of the films was insignificant. The polymers were determined to resist solubilization in solvents commonly used in the deposition of organic semiconducting layers, including chloroform and chlorobenzene, with higher stability observed in films fabricated at higher RF power.
Coatings2014, 4(3), 508-526; doi:10.3390/coatings4030508 (doi registration under processing) - published online 31 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In this work, a series of mono-and multilayer coatings were considered. They consisted of CrN and Cr prepared by physical vapor deposition with a cathodic arc. The most common steels for molds of plastics were chosen as substrates: X37CrMoV5-1 (SMV3), X2NiCoMo18-8-5 (MARVAL M1), X105CrCoMo18-2 (N690) and X40CrMo15 (X13T6). The samples were made with surface state conditions reproducing the main finishes required for molding of plastics: mirror, electro-eroded, sandblasted and ground finish. The coatings were characterized morphologically and chemically. The corrosion behavior of bare and coated steels was evaluated by electrochemical methods.
Abstract: Photocatalytic TiO2 coatings are famously known for their excellent self-cleaning behavior, where very thin water layer formed on the superhydrophilic surface can easily wash-off the dirt particles while flowing. Here we report the preparation of the optically transparent, adherent, highly wettable towards water and photocatalytic SiO2-TiO2 coatings on polycarbonate (PC) substrate for self-cleaning applications. The silica barrier layer was applied on UV-treated PC substrate before spin coating the SiO2-TiO2 coatings. The effect of different vol% of SiO2 in TiO2 and its influence on the surface morphology, mechanical stability, wettability, and photocatalytic properties of the coatings were studied in detail. The coatings prepared from 7 vol% of SiO2 in TiO2 showed smooth, crack-free surface morphology and low surface roughness compared to the coatings prepared from the higher vol% of SiO2 in TiO2. The water drops on this coating acquires a contact angle less than 10° after UV irradiation for 30 min. All the coatings prepared from different vol% (7 to 20) of SiO2 in TiO2 showed high transparency in the visible range.
Abstract: An experimental study of inert particle dispersion in an isothermal concentric air jet near field was conducted for cases of standard non-staggered and alternative staggered jet nozzles, each taken from a polymer powder flame deposition gun. The experimental work consisted of analysis of high speed digital images of the inert two phase isothermal jet flow, illuminated by a laser light sheet along and across the jet axis. The analysis of particle spread in the jet, represented by families of particle density distributions, clearly showed that the staggered nozzles resulted in a better-focused flow, with narrower distributions in the near field, and in the elimination of the recirculation zone that disrupted the particle flow in a non-staggered nozzle arrangement. In all cases, histograms of the cross-sectional particle area density were found to be approximately Gaussian. It was also found that there was a wide variation in the size and shape of the ground polymer particles used and these two characteristics caused a wide variation in the radial and axial velocities of the particles. Despite the differences between single-phase numerical simulations and experimental results, reported in Payne et al. , the introduction of particles into a numerical model produced satisfactory agreement with the particle velocities found experimentally.
Abstract: Mercury-supported, self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) of the sole dioleoylphosphatidylcholine (DOPC) and of a raft-forming mixture of DOPC, cholesterol (Chol) and palmitoylsphingomyelin (PSM) of (59:26:15) mol% composition, were investigated by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), both in the absence and in the presence of the monosialoganglioside GM1. The impedance spectra of these four SAMs were fitted by a series of parallel combinations of a resistance and a capacitance (RC meshes) and displayed on plots of ωZ′ against −ωZ″, where Z′ and Z″ are the in-phase and quadrature components of the impedance and ω is the angular frequency. A comparison among these different impedance spectra points to the formation of GM1-rich gel phase microdomains within the lipid rafts of the DOPC/Chol/PSM mixture, thanks to the unique molecular-level smooth support provided by mercury, which allows EIS to detect the protruding gel phase microdomains by averaging them over a macroscopically large area.