Table of Contents
ISRN Chemical Engineering
Volume 2012, Article ID 372479, 11 pages
Research Article

Photocatalytic Reaction of Gas-Phase Naphthalene on Paint- and Sunscreen-Coated Surfaces

Cain Department of Chemical Engineering, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA

Received 15 June 2012; Accepted 12 August 2012

Academic Editors: H. Idriss and E. Van Steen

Copyright © 2012 Nicholas A. Ashley et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The uses of metal oxide nanoparticles in modern paint and sunscreen formulations are widespread. Through materials characterization and kinetic experiments, it is demonstrated that fresh surface coatings of paint and sunscreen photocatalytically degrade gaseous naphthalene. The primary metal oxides are TiO2 in the form of the rutile phase in paint and as anatase in sunscreen formulations. Other metal oxides present are Al2O3 and ZnO. Several organic fillers that are photochemically active are also present in paint and sunscreen samples but are unidentified. Reaction rate constants increased with increasing air relative humidity, due to the production of surface hydroxyl radical, and decreased with increasing coating thickness, due to mass transfer limitations. Photocatalytic degradation on these freshly generated surfaces is observed to be fast, with naphthalene half-lives shorter than 30 minutes. This work demonstrates that large, semivolatile organic compounds can react photochemically on freshly generated paint- and sunscreen-coated surfaces and may impact air quality in both indoor and outdoor environments.