Nanotechnology Means Never Cleaning Your House Again : Future Innovation
Hate cleaning your house? Wish there was a way for your house to clean itself? Be patient, as that technology may be available to you in a short five years. Surface coating technology may soon mean dust gets destoryed simply by turning on a light switch.
Nanotechnbology is finding a way for surfaces to dissapate dust, mildew and bacteria. "Not so long ago, chemical engineers discovered how to use titanium dioxide to keep buildings free of discoloring pollution. Landmarks such as the virgin-white Dives in Misericordia Church in Rome and the Marunouchi Building in Tokyo were among the first to be coated with the semiconductor, which breaks down organic molecules—including those in grime and pollution—when exposed to light and water and then releases them into the air. Soon after, TiO2-based self-cleaning products, like SunClean windows from PPG Industries, hit the home market....
[M]aterials engineer Michael Cortie and his colleagues at the Institute for Nanoscale Technology in Sydney, Australia, who are working to perfect a coating that can respond to the visible spectrum—that is, the lightbulb hanging from your bathroom ceiling....
Two chemical qualities make TiO2 an all-purpose cleaner. First, the chemical is light-sensitive. When it is struck by photons, it reacts with air and water vapor to accelerate the breakdown of organic materials. It’s a bit like an artificial photosynthesis, but whereas plants use sunlight to break down carbon dioxide and turn it into oxygen, TiO2 uses light to turn scourges like grease and bacteria into carbon dioxide, hydrogen and other by-products that escape into the air. Second, TiO2 is hydro-philic, or water-loving. Instead of repelling water—as tiles and glass do when they encourage water to bead—materials coated with TiO2 attract water, causing it to “sheet” across the surface, taking by-products and oversize particles with it.
The result: Guck rarely gets a chance to build up, and it washes away easily when it does...."
Read the whole story in Popular Science.