Spanish hard surfaces company Neolith (part of parent surfaces company, TheSize), throws its hat into the ring of air-purifying building materials with its recently launched collection of façade tile systems. Called Skyline, the slabs are covered with Cincinnati, Ohio–based surface treatment manufacturer Pureti's proprietary aqueous and titanium dioxide nanoparticle–based coating that creates self-cleaning and air purifying surfaces. Made from 100-percent natural raw materials such as granite minerals, silica, and natural oxides, the large slabs are intended for indoor and outdoor flooring or exterior cladding and can be installed as ventilated façades. Through sintering technology, the product undergoes exposure to extreme heat and pressure to create a nonporous, durable surface.

Pureti credits two chemical processes that make the coating technology possible: photocatalysis and superhydrophilicity. Photocatalysis is a process in which light accelerates a chemical reaction; in this case, it activates the titanium dioxide nanoparticles on Pureti-treated Neolith tiles to convert moisture from the air into hydroxyl and superoxide cleaning agents. These cleaning agents then transform nitrogen dioxide (NOx) particles prevalent in air pollution into neutral minerals and water vapor.

Superhydrophilicity is initiated by contact with water, as in the case of rain or precipitation. As the water expands over the treated surface, the thin film of titanium dioxide nanoparticles formed from photocatalysis washes away dirt particles off the façade, reducing the need for frequent cleaning of the building's exterior.

"In a polluted environment, every 4 square meters [or 43 square feet] of treated surface has the capacity to eliminate the NOx produced by a car, driving for a year," explains a video on Neolith's website.

“We’re always looking for ways to advance the technical characteristics and designs of our surfacing products to exceed the needs of home and building owners, now and in the future,” said Jacco Jurrisen, head of research and development at TheSize. “Coupling our already low-maintenance sintered stone slabs with Pureti was an easy marriage that will add another dimension to architectural and design projects.”

The Pureti treatment is available for Neolith's 6-millimeter-thick Skyline slabs. The slabs come in five sizes: 142" by 48", 126" by 60", 126" by 64", 102" by 48", and 102" by 60", with custom cuts also available. Skyline offered in satin, silk, and riverwashed finishes. The eco-friendly tiles can be used to earn LEED and WELL building credits.

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