Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 21, Issue 23, pp 13264–13277 | Cite as

Synthesis and characterization of nanocrystalline TiO2 with application as photoactive coating on stones

  • Laura Bergamonti
  • Ilaria Alfieri
  • Marco Franzò
  • Andrea Lorenzi
  • Angelo Montenero
  • Giovanni Predieri
  • Marina Raganato
  • Angela Calia
  • Laura Lazzarini
  • Danilo Bersani
  • Pier Paolo Lottici
Chemistry in a sustainable society


Self-cleaning photocatalytic coatings for biocalcarenite stones, based on TiO2 nanoparticles obtained by sol–gel processes at different pH values and also adding gold particles, have been investigated. The selected test material is a biocalcarenite named “pietra di Lecce” (Lecce stone), outcropping in Southern Italy. Scanning electron microscopy with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, and Raman investigations were carried out to characterize the TiO2 nanoparticles and coatings. Nanocrystalline anatase and, to a lesser extent, brookite phases are obtained. Photocatalytic activity of the TiO2 sols and of the coatings on “pietra di Lecce” was assessed under ultraviolet irradiation, monitoring methyl orange (MeO) dye degradation as a function of time. To evaluate the harmlessness of the treatment, colorimetric tests and water absorption by capillarity were performed. The results show good photodegradation rates for titania nanosols, particularly when putting in Au particles, whereas a satisfactory chromatic compatibility between the sol and the surface of the calcarenite is found only without Au addition.


  • Sols of nanocrystalline titania at different pH values and with Au particles were prepared and characterized.

  • Satisfactory photodegradation of MeO by the sols in solution and on calcarenite-coated surfaces is obtained.

  • The addition of Au particles improves the photodegradation activity but gives poor chromatic results on “pietra di Lecce.”


Sol–gel titania Nanocrystalline TiO2 Biocalcarenites Self-cleaning coating Photocatalysis Anatase Brookite 



Maurizio Masieri (IBAM, Lecce, Italy) is acknowledged for the ESEM measurements.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Bergamonti
    • 1
  • Ilaria Alfieri
    • 1
  • Marco Franzò
    • 1
  • Andrea Lorenzi
    • 1
  • Angelo Montenero
    • 1
  • Giovanni Predieri
    • 1
  • Marina Raganato
    • 1
  • Angela Calia
    • 2
  • Laura Lazzarini
    • 3
  • Danilo Bersani
    • 4
  • Pier Paolo Lottici
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of ParmaParmaItaly
  2. 2.Institute for Archaeological and Monumental Heritage (CNR-IBAM)LecceItaly
  3. 3.IMEM-CNRParmaItaly
  4. 4.Department of Physics and Earth SciencesUniversity of ParmaParmaItaly

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