With its innovative anti-pollutant action, Iris-Fiandre Group's micrometre-sized ceramic material not only creates stable, attractive, self-cleaning tiles but also proactively improves the air quality of the environment around it - even indoors.
On 9 April 2014, the European Patent Office granted and published the patent on the photocatalytic ACTIVE Clean Air and Antibacterial Ceramic™ material and its production process to Iris-Fiandre Group.
ACTIVE is an innovative ceramic material created using the most modern scientific and technological breakthroughs in the design of aesthetically appealing ceramics with the unique characteristic of playing an active role in improving human quality of life.
ACTIVE is an advanced application for porcelain and glazed stoneware based on photocatalytic titanium dioxide, which transforms a simple tile into an advanced, eco-active ceramic material. ACTIVE technology provides highly stable material tiles, preserving the hardness and resistance typical of porcelain stoneware materials over time. The conferred surface properties are certified and meet ISO standards.
Photocatalysis is a chemical process that occurs in the presence of titanium dioxide, light (solar or artificial) and air humidity. In fact, ACTIVE reacts with the pollutants present in the air, such as the well-known nitrogen oxides, and breaks them down with an efficient anti-pollutant action. This material is a great solution for improving the quality of air even in indoor environments, as ACTIVE can efficiently degrade chemical molecules such as those that cause bad odours.
In addition, internationally recognised tests have confirmed the special antibacterial properties of ACTIVE, even with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
ACTIVE materials may be designated as self-cleaning. They can, in fact, degrade the molecules on the surface of the ceramic, such as grease residue, stains and cigarette smoke. This characteristic makes the surface easy to clean using only water, thus avoiding - or at least limiting - the use of aggressive detergents, which are also a source of pollution. This is particularly important in environments with children or elderly people.
From a scientific point of view, ACTIVE is an extraordinary invention because, unlike other photocatalytic products on the market, GranitiFiandre Group applies micrometre-sized, rather than nanometre-sized, titanium dioxide on ACTIVE surfaces. Indeed, it is well known that the photocatalysis community works exclusively with nanometre-sized photoactive materials.
It is not just a question of application size either - 1nm is a millionth of a millimetre, while 1µm is a thousandth of a millimetre, and according to recent publications in the scientific community, the human body's natural barriers, such as the nose and skin, do not recognise nanodust. This means, therefore, that it can easily penetrate the body's natural barriers virtually unchecked, with consequences for our health that are still unknown.
Therefore, GranitiFiandre Group decided to choose larger crystallites of titanium dioxide. This is a very brave and important decision. In fact, a larger size is, in reality, much more difficult to produce. However, this is without a doubt compensated for by a greater degree of consideration for the safety of human beings in every way - whether that is the personnel involved in the production of these materials or the end users.