Testing the feasibility of titanium dioxide sol-gel coatings on portuguese glazed tiles to prevent biological colonization

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Historical glazed wall tiles are a unique vehicle of artistic expression that can be found outdoors, integrating the buildings of many countries, therefore they are often subjected to biodeterioration. In this work, the applicability of protective coatings on glazed tiles to prevent biological colonization was evaluated. Thin films of titanium dioxide (TiO2) obtained by sol-gel were applied on glazed tiles to appraise its anti-biofouling properties and to evaluate their suitability for cultural heritage application. The TiO2 coating was tested on four different Portuguese glazed tiles and a modern tile. The chemical and mineralogical characterization of the glaze and ceramic body of the tiles was examined by wavelength dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (WDXRF) and X-ray diffraction (XRD). The produced TiO2 coating was chemically and morphologically characterized by micro Raman spectroscopy (µ-Raman) and field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM). The anti-biofouling properties of the TiO2 treatment were evaluated by inoculating the fungus Cladosporium sp. on the glazed tiles. Potential chromatic and mineralogical alterations induced by the treatment were assessed by color measurements and XRD. The TiO2 coating did not prevent fungal growth and caused aesthetical alterations on the glazed tiles. A critical analysis evidenced that the tested coating was not suitable for cultural heritage application and highlighted the challenges of developing protective coatings for glazed tiles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1169
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2020


  • Biocides
  • Biodeterioration
  • Ceramic glazed tiles
  • Cultural heritage


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