Italia Pavilion in Milan

Photocatalytic products are a contemporary innovation and play an important role in reducing pollution, thanks to their technology that allows them to be used in several cases: tiles, concrete, paint and floor coverings.

These materials are attracting a lot of interest throughout Europe, especially when applied to traditional surfaces because they are self-cleaning, absorb many pollutants in the air and play an antibacterial effect by transforming the surfaces on which they are applied in multifunctional elements.

Thanks to solar radiation, anatase, a particular titanium dioxide (TiO2) mineral form, by means of a photocatalyst accelerates the oxidation process by helping pollutants decompose into water-soluble inorganic salts by combining the anti-pollution effect with antibacterial effect.

In particular, nitric oxide (NOX), particulate matter (PM10) or VOC (volatile organic compounds) are transformed into innocuous substances, both for humans and for the environment, such as sodium nitrate (NaNO3), carbonate sodium (CaNO3) or calcium carbonate (CaCO3).

The surface of the concrete is the most used for the photocatalysis process, since its porosity helps to maximize the effects of photocatalytic reaction, favoring the absorption of toxic elements.

Biodynamic concrete, external cladding of buildings.

Italia Pavilion in Milan

In Italy, an important result is given by biodynamic concrete, biodynamic, born of the synergic collaboration of the research world with industry and used for the outer coating of the  Italia Pavilion at Expo 2015 in Milan.

The photocatalytic active ingredient present in the concrete allows capturing some pollutants in the air, transforming them into inert salts and thus helping to release the atmosphere from the smog.

Mortar is made up of 80% by recycled aggregates that give a gloss more than traditional white cements, while its dynamism is determined by the special formula, easily machinable, resulting in complex shapes.

Thanks to this machinability, biodynamic is able to penetrate the various interstices ensuring an extraordinary surface quality.

The use of this cement in enclosed spaces can allow its antibacterial properties to be exploited in indoor environments such as canteens, hotels, restaurants, hospitals and in general in special environments with controlled biological contamination.

Bibliographic references

“Cemento biodinamico”, document available at: italcementi.

De Martino, E. (2016), Palazzo Italia Expo: soluzioni costruttive innovative poste al vaglio di un’analisi critica. Degree Thesis University of Bologna, Degree Course in Civil Engineering.