Current trends in the building industry are oriented towards the reduction of maintenance costs and the ecological benefits of buildings or building materials. Surface treatment of building materials with photocatalytic active titanium dioxide added into concrete can offer a good solution in this context. Architectural concrete has one disadvantage – dust and fouling keep settling on its surface, diminishing its aesthetic value and increasing maintenance e costs. Concrete surface – silicate material with open porosity – fulfils the conditions of effective photocatalysis, in particular, the self-cleaning properties of surfaces. This modern material is advantageous in particular for direct finishing and architectural concrete applications. If photoactive titanium dioxide is part of the top layers of road concrete on busy roads and the facades of the buildings surrounding these roads, exhaust fumes can be degraded with the aid of sunshine; hence, environmental load will decrease. It is clear that options for removing pollutants like nitrogen oxides (NOx) must be found. Not only do these gases present a health risk, they also cause the degradation of the surfaces of concrete structures. The photocatalytic properties of titanium dioxide can in the long term contribute to the enhanced appearance of surface layers and eliminate harmful pollutants dispersed in the air, and facilitate the conversion of pollutants into less toxic forms (e.g., NOx to HNO3). This paper describes verification of the photocatalytic properties of titanium dioxide and presents the results of mechanical and physical tests on samples of architectural lightweight self-compacting concretes (LWSCC). The very essence of the use of LWSCC is their rheological ability to seep into otherwise extremely hard accessible or inaccessible construction areas, or sections thereof where concrete compacting will be a problem, or where vibration is completely excluded. They are also able to create a solid monolithic element with a large variety of shapes; the concrete will at the same meet the requirements of both chemical aggression and the influences of the surrounding environment. Due to their viscosity, LWSCCs are able to imprint the formwork elements into their structure and thus create high quality lightweight architectural concretes.
Superhydrophobic surfaces are abundant in nature. Several surfaces such as wings of butterfly, legs of water strider, feet of gecko and the lotus leaf show extreme water repellence behaviour. Self-cleaning, stain-free fabrics, spill-resistant protective wears, drag reduction in micro-fluidic devices etc. are few applications of superhydrophobic surfaces. In order to design robust superhydrophobic surface, it is important to understand the interaction of water with superhydrophobic surface textures. In this work, we report a simple coating method for creating large-scale flexible superhydrophobic paper surface. The surface consists of multiple layers of silanized zirconia microparticles decorated with zirconia nanoparticles. Water contact angle as high as 159±10 and contact angle hysteresis less than 80 was observed. Drop impact studies on superhydrophobic paper surface were carried out by impinging water droplet and capturing its dynamics through high speed imaging. During the drop impact, the Weber number was varied from 20 to 80 by altering the impact velocity of the drop and the parameters such as contact time, normalized spread diameter were obtained. In contrast to earlier literature reports, we observed contact time to be dependent on impact velocity on superhydrophobic surface. Total contact time was split into two components as spread time and recoil time. The recoil time was found to be dependent on the impact velocity while the spread time on the surface did not show much variation with the impact velocity. Further, normalized spreading parameter was found to increase with increase in impact velocity.
We have aimed to produce a self-cleaning transparent polymer coating with polyurethane (PU) matrix as the latter is highly solvent, chemical and weather resistant having good mechanical properties. Nano-silica modified by 1H, 1H, 2H, 2Hperflurooctyltriethoxysilane was incorporated into the PU matrix for attaining self-cleaning ability through hydrophobicity. The modification was confirmed by particle size analysis and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Thermo-gravimetric (TGA) studies were carried to ascertain the grafting of silane onto the silica. Several coating formulations were prepared by varying the silica loading content and compared to a commercial equivalent. The effect of dispersion and the morphology of the coated films were assessed by SEM analysis. All coating standardized tests like solvent resistance, adhesion, flexibility, acid, alkali, gloss etc. have been performed as per ASTM standards. Water contact angle studies were conducted to analyze the hydrophobic character of the coating. In addition, the coatings were also subjected to salt spray and accelerated weather testing to analyze the durability of the coating.
The paper involves a chain of activities from synthesis, establishment of the methodology for characterization and testing of novel protective materials through the pilot production and application on model supports. It summarizes the results regarding the development of the pilot production protocol for newly developed self-cleaning materials. The optimization of the production parameters was completed in order to improve the most important functional properties (mineralogy characteristics, particle size, self-cleaning properties and photocatalytic activity) of the newly designed nanocomposite material.
Sustainability, being the urgent issue of our time, is closely related with the innovations in technology. Nanotechnology (NT), although not a new science, can be regarded relatively a new science for buildings with brand new materials and applications. This paper tends to give a research review of current and near future applications of nanotechnology (NT) for achieving high-performance and healthy buildings for a sustainable future. In the introduction, the driving forces for the sustainability of construction industry are explained. Then, the term NT is defined, and significance of innovations in NT for a sustainable construction industry is revealed. After presenting the application areas of NT and nanomaterials for buildings with a number of cases, challenges in the adoption of this technology are put forward, and finally the impacts of nanoparticles and nanomaterials on human health and environment are discussed.