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Materials 2018, 11(10), 1945;

Transparent Photocatalytic Thin Films on Flexible Polymer Substrates

Laboratory for Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Nova Gorica, SI-5001 Nova Gorica, Slovenia
Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, University of Ljubljana, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
National Institute of Chemistry, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 August 2018 / Revised: 19 September 2018 / Accepted: 6 October 2018 / Published: 11 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Self-Cleaning Surfaces)
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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. View Full-Text
Keywords: photocatalysis; self-cleaning surface; TiO2; ZrO2; SiO2; transparent films; thermosensitive substrates; PMMA; PVC; PES; PVDF photocatalysis; self-cleaning surface; TiO2; ZrO2; SiO2; transparent films; thermosensitive substrates; PMMA; PVC; PES; PVDF

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Vodišek, N.; Šuligoj, A.; Korte, D.; Lavrenčič Štangar, U. Transparent Photocatalytic Thin Films on Flexible Polymer Substrates. Materials 2018, 11, 1945.

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