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Biomol Eng. 2007 Nov;24(5):543-8. Epub 2007 Aug 7.

The effect of process parameters on the Liquid Flame Spray generated titania nanoparticles.

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  • 1Aerosol Physics Laboratory, Institute of Physics, Tampere University of Technology, PO Box 692, FIN-33101 Tampere, Finland. mikko.aromaa@tut.fi


Nanoparticles have become important in many applications. It is essential to be able to control the particle size because the properties of nanoparticles change dramatically with particle size. An efficient way to generate nanoparticles is via aerosol processes. In this study we used Liquid Flame Spray consisting of liquid precursor droplets sprayed into a high-speed hydrogen/oxygen flame where they evaporate, vapours react and nucleate to form titania nanoparticles. Using flame methods, also dopants and sensitizers can easily be introduced in order to, e.g. improve the photocatalytic activity of the nanomaterial. To obtain a practical guideline in order to tailor the final nanoparticle size in the process, we have systematically studied the effects of different process parameters on the particle size of titania. Titania is used, e.g. as a photocatalyst, and then both particle size and crystal structure are important when looking at the efficiency. In this work, the generated nanoparticle size has been measured by aerosol instrumentation and the particle morphology has been verified with transmission electron microscopy. In Liquid Flame Spray method, there are several adjustable parameters such as precursor feed rate into the flame; concentration of the precursor; precursor material itself as well as solvent used in the precursor; mass flow of combustion gases and also the mechanical design of the torch used. We used metal organic based titanium precursors in alcohol solvents, predominantly ethanol and 2-propanol. Large differences in particle production between the precursors were found. Differences could also be seen for various solvents. As for precursor feed in the flame, the more mass is introduced the larger the nanoparticles are, i.e. precursor concentration and precursor feed rate have an impact on particle size. A similar phenomenon can be discovered for the combustion gas flow rates. Torch design also plays an important role in controlling the particle size.

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