Preparation and Characterization of Polyhedral Oligomeric Silsesquioxane, Titania-Thiol-Ene Composite Photocatalytic Coatings, Emphasizing the Hydrophobic-Hydrophilic Transition

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Chemistry and Biochemistry


Coatings prepared from titania-thiol-ene compositions were found to be both self-cleaning, as measured by changes in water contact angle, and photocatalytic toward the degradation of an organic dye. Stable titania-thiol-ene dispersions at approximately 2 wt % solids were prepared using a combination of high-shear mixing and sonication in acetone solvent from photocatalytic titania, trisilanol isobutyl polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (POSS) dispersant, and select thiol-ene monomers, i.e., trimethylolpropane tris(3-mercaptopropionate) (TMPMP), pentaerythritol allyl ether (APE), and 1,3,5-triallyl-1,3,5-triazine-2,4,6(1H,3H,5H)-trione (TTT). The dispersed particle compositions were characterized by DLS and TEM. The synthetic methods employed yield a strongly bound particle/POSS complex, supported by IR, 29Si NMR, and TGA. The factors of spray techniques, carrier solvent volatility, and particle size and size distributions, in combination, likely all contribute to the highly textured but uniform surfaces observed via SEM and AFM. Polymer composites possessed thermal transitions (e.g., Tg) consistent with composition. In general, the presence of polymer matrix provided mechanical integrity, without significantly compromising or prohibiting other critical performance characteristics, such as film processing, photocatalytic degradation of adsorbed contaminants, and the hydrophobic–hydrophilic transition. In all cases, coatings containing photocatalytic titania were converted from superhydrophobic to superhydrophilic, as defined by changes in the water contact angle. The superhydrophilic state of samples was considered persistent, since long time durations in complete darkness were required to observe any significant hydrophobic return. In a preliminary demonstration, the photocatalytic activity of prepared coatings was confirmed through the degradation of crystal violet dye. This work demonstrates that a scalable process can be found to prepare titania-thiol-ene coatings having improved coating properties which also exhibit photocatalytic and self-cleaning attributes.

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ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces





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