This study presents an experimental overview for the development of photocatalytic materials based on geopolymer binders as catalyst support matrices. Particularly, geopolymer matrices obtained from different solid precursors (fly ash and metakaolin), composite systems (siloxane-hybrid, foamed hybrid), and curing temperatures (room temperature and 60 °C) were investigated for the same photocatalyst content (i.e., 3% TiO2
by weight of paste). The geopolymer matrices were previously designed for different applications, ranging from insulating (foam) to structural materials. The photocatalytic activity was evaluated as NO degradation in air, and the results were compared with an ordinary Portland cement reference. The studied matrices demonstrated highly variable photocatalytic performance depending on both matrix constituents and the curing temperature, with promising activity revealed by the geopolymers based on fly ash and metakaolin. Furthermore, microstructural features and titania dispersion in the matrices were assessed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray (EDS) analyses. Particularly, EDS analyses of sample sections indicated segregation effects of titania in the surface layer, with consequent enhancement or depletion of the catalyst concentration in the active sample region, suggesting non-negligible transport phenomena during the curing process. The described results demonstrated that geopolymer binders can be interesting catalyst support matrices for the development of photocatalytic materials and indicated a large potential for the exploitation of their peculiar features.
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