Monday, 12 May 2014 13:33

Titanium dioxide: An (electro) chemical fil rouge


    Research @ Ti&Fun: An (electro) chemical fil rouge connecting surface functionalization, corrosion and the environmental applications of titanium dioxide

    May 15, 2014, 3 p.m.
    Room: 13-2127 
    Maria Vittoria Diamanti

    Asst. Prof. Maria V. Diamanti, Politecnico di Milano


    The reactivity of most metallic surfaces can be a source of adverse consequences, as in the case of undesired corrosion reactions, but it can also present beneficial aspects, as the possibility to tune surface parameters – chemical composition and crystal structure, morphology, inertia, color – through electrochemical processes. Diamanti's research on the anodizing of valve metals – mainly titanium – stems from a long tradition of research on metal corrosion and related electrochemical aspects, which generally require a complex set of techniques to provide a complete picture of the phenomenon: potentiostatic or potentiodynamic polarization, cyclic voltammetry, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, coulometry, to cite the most common ones. Anodic oxidation can take advantage of the same techniques to grow and characterize titanium oxides with controlled features, increasing its corrosion resistance but also of functionalizing the surface with properties that would not be available otherwise, from enhanced wear resistance to interference colors, from memristance to superhydrophilicity and photocatalytic activity. Among these, in the last years the attention of her  research group has mostly focused on the environmental applications of TiO2 photoactivity, leading to the development of anodic oxides with increased surface area and optimized crystal structure for efficient photodegradation and removal of pollutants in wastewater. In parallel, the environmental benefits of TiO2 have also been investigated by considering the chemical route – i.e., the production and use of nanoparticles added as coatings (sol-gel) or in bulk, mainly to functionalize construction materials. This functionalization achieves self-cleaning surfaces, with the related economic and energetic advantages of reduced maintenance requirements and increased solar reflectance: this research line has led to optimizing the formulation of a mortar that is currently applied on commercial cladding panels as the finishing layer. Sol-gel coatings are subject of study not only for the same possibility offered – that of inducing self-cleaning properties on existing materials – but also to increase the corrosion resistance of metallic alloys, thanks to the barrier action provided.

    Speaker bio


    Updated 5/15/14 

    Last modified on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 15:16