Functionalization of Upsalite® with TiO2 for UV-blocking applications

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Nanoteknologi och funktionella material


Inorganic UV-filters in use today often occur as nanoparticles and have a photocatalytic effect, which can be a problem since they can cause negative health effects. This is why Upsalite®, a mesoporous magnesium carbonate recently has been investigated as a UV-filter. Upsalite® itself is however not suitable as a UV-filter since it mainly protects in the UVC range and hence it needs to be complemented by other substances. The substance studied to functionalize Upsalite® in this thesis is titanium dioxide which is an inorganic UV-filter commonly used in sunscreens.

In this work two different sol-gel synthesis routes of titanium dioxide have been investigated as well as a co-synthesis of Upsalite® and titanium dioxide. In the first synthesis route already synthesized Upsalite® was mixed with titanium tetra-isopropoxide and 1-propanol. The second synthesis route was a modified version of synthesis routes described in literature where methanol solvent was used and the pressure was altered by CO2. This route was explored due to its resemblance with the Upsalite® synthesis. Pressure, temperature and amount of water were varied to optimize incorporation of Upsalite® and investigate possibilities for a co-synthesis. Subsequently a co-synthesis of Upsalite® and titanium dioxide was performed that resulted in two amorphous composite materials depending on if water was added in the drying procedure or not.

When mixing Upsalite® in the synthesis liquid of titanium dioxide, titanium dioxide seems to be deposited on Upsalite®. It is however difficult to determine whether the pores of Upsalite® have been completely filled or if they have collapsed. The acid catalyst HCl promotes formation to crystalline titanium dioxide but Upsalite® instead prevents it. The limited crystallization of titanium dioxide when synthesized with Upsalite® may be due to confinement in the Upsalite® pores. The UV-blocking properties of the TiO2-Upsalite® without HCl are good with an sun protection factor (SPF) of 27 for a 10 wt% blend in a lotion and an SPF of 7 for the sample with HCl. The modified synthesis route of TiO2 showed that it is possible to perform a sol-gel synthesis with a considerably lower amount of water than found in literature and that alteration of temperature and pressure during the synthesis does not affect the crystallization temperature noteworthy. The materials obtained from the co-synthesis are slightly porous, probably consisting of one or several magnesium titanium oxides and a carbonate phase and showed a transmission cutoff in between Upsalite® and titanium dioxide corresponding to an SPF of 5.

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