Development of photocatalytic pigments for coatings applications using spray-drying technology




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Aim of the project

The purpose of this project is the synthesis and  characterization of novel photocatalytic pigments prepared using spray-drying and their further implementation into photocatalytic coatings.

The photocatalysts are primarily metal oxide semiconductors than confer catalytic functionality to organic-based coatings, as result of their combination with film forming agents, other pigments, solvents and additives.

The motivation of this project arises from the multiple applications of the resulting photocatalytic coatings in environmental and health areas, including air purification in highly polluted areas, self-cleaning coatings, and antibacterial coatings.


The state-of-the-art of photocatalytic coatings use titania nanoparticles (~21 nm) in anatase form, which is a wide band gap semiconductor that acts as photocatalyst [1]. Under UV irradiation (< 400 nm) the coatings are able to create highly oxidizing species using water and oxygen molecules that degrade pollutants (i.e., volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOx)) [2].

However, the performance of these coatings is severely hindered because anatase is only active under UV light, whereas sunlight and most common artificial light sources provide only minor UV contribution [3]. Another drawback for these coatings is the concomitant photodegradation of the film forming agent that compromises the coating stability. The toxicity of nanosized photocatalysts also imposes limitations to many potential applications of photocatalytic coatings.

Spray-drying is an established method within coatings technology widely used to produce ordinary powder pigments. It can be used to produce microsized multishelled particles with mesoporous structure with high surface area [4,5]. The use of spray-drying for synthesis of photocatalytic pigments has not been fully explored, but it is conceived that could lead to production of novel photocatalysts, as an alternative to more established nanosized materials, with higher performance and improved sustainability.

 Description of the project

This work will take place within the framework of The Hempel Foundation Coatings Science and Technology Centre (CoaST).

The candidate will be responsible of the laboratory-scale production of photocatalysts using spray-drying technology. The structural, electronic and textural properties of the synthesized materials will be characterized using morphology and spectroscopy analysis techniques, whereas the photocatalytic activity will be asserted by studying the kinetics of model reactions in artificial irradiation experiments.

Optimization of spray-drying process parameters for photocatalysts production will be based on the outcome of the structure and performance evaluation, which will allow identifying structure-activity relationships. Finally, the most promising photocatalysts will be ultimately used for formulation, characterization and testing of photocatalytic coatings.


[1]      Fujishima and Honda. Nature 238 (1972) 37.

[2]      T. Maggos, J.G. Bartzis, M. Liakou, C. Gobin. J. Hazard. Mater. 146 (2007) 668.

[3]      Galenda, F. Visentin, R. Gerbasi, M. Favaro, A. Bernardi, N. El Habra. Appl. Catal. B Environ. 232 (2018) 194.

[4]      Z. Padashbarmchi, A.H. Hamidian, H. Zhang, L. Zhou, N. Khorasani, M. Kazemzad, C. Yu. RSC Adv. 5 (2015) 10304.

[5]      H. Ren, R. Yu, J. Qi, L. Zhang, Q. Jin, D. Wang. Adv. Mater. 31 (2019) 1805754.



Relevant BSc degree, with emphasis on physical chemistry and material science. Experience in laboratory synthesis and characterization of inorganic materials is an advantage.

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DTU Kemiteknik


Amado Andrés Velázquez-Palenzuela





Kandidatuddannelsen i Kemisk og Biokemisk Teknologi


Amado Andrés Velázquez-Palenzuela


Sara Golbarg, Jakob Munkholt Christensen, Kim Dam-Johansen


25 - 35




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