Applied Surface Science, Vol.438, 136-146, 2018
Induced superhydrophobic and antimicrobial character of zinc metal modified ceramic wall tile surfaces
Hydrophobic surfaces are also known to have antimicrobial effect by restricting the adherence of microorganisms. However, ceramic products are produced by high temperature processes resulting in a hydrophilic surface. In this study, an industrial ceramic wall tile glaze composition was modified by the inclusion of metallic zinc powder in the glaze suspension applied on the pre-sintered wall tile bodies by spraying. The glazed tiles were gloss fired at industrially applicable peak temperatures ranging from 980 degrees C to 1100 degrees C. The fired tile surfaces were coated with a commercial fluoropolymer avoiding water absorption. The surfaces were characterized with SEM, EDS, XRD techniques, roughness, sessile water drop contact angle, surface energy measurements, and standard antimicrobial tests. The surface hydrophobicity and the antimicrobial activity results were compared with that of unmodified, uncoated gloss fired wall tiles. A superhydrophobic contact angle of 150 degrees was achieved at 1000 degrees C peak temperature due to the formation of micro-structured nanocrystalline zinc oxide granules providing a specific surface topography. At higher peak temperatures the hydrophobicity was lost as the specific granular surface topography deteriorated with the conversion of zinc oxide granules to the ubiquitous willemite crystals embedded in the glassy matrix. The antimicrobial efficacy also correlated with the hydrophobic character. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.