Air Clean Up
Can Windows Combat Pollution?
Apr 04 2019 Read 1253 Times
A team of Chinese scientists have struck upon a way to create windows that are not only capable of regulating the amount of light which can pass through them, but also quickly and effectively filter out harmful particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5) pollution. Constructed from a silver-nylon mesh, the windows are incredibly cheap and quick to manufacture and resilient to physical stress.
They are also fantastically efficient at removing PM2.5 from the air and can be easily cleaned for multiple reuses. As an affordable and effective solution to pollution filtration, the authors of the research hope that their invention will comprise the blueprint upon which all of tomorrow’s windows are now based.
As our knowledge of the damaging properties of PM2.5 and the technology with which we measure it have developed, concerns have been heightened over the damage that the pollutant can do to the human body. 30 times smaller than the breadth of a human hair, PM2.5 can easily be inhaled and even absorbed into the bloodstream, causing and exacerbating a wide range of cardiovascular and respiratory maladies.
With that in mind, the team at the University of Science and Technology of China set about developing a product which could provide an answer to the conundrum. Their simple solution can be used to create a large-scale window material that is embedded with transparent electrodes capable of adjusting the transmittance of light through them, according to thermal temperatures within the building. However, their biggest selling point is their anti-pollution properties.
The advances in smart technology already allow municipal authorities to share local air quality information with the public, but this latest smart innovation could actually save them from it. The materials developed by Professor Yu Shuhong and his team have been demonstrated to remove up to 99.65% of PM2.5 from the atmosphere, with the efficiency remaining high even on a larger scale.
That means that the windows could reduce the concentration of PM2.5 in a highly-polluted area from 248μg/m3 (designated as a purple alert) to just 32.9μg/m3 (designated as green) in less than a minute. What’s more, the windows can be soaked in ethanol for 20 minutes to completely remove all traces of the pollutant and return them to a serviceable condition.
Better, faster, stronger, cheaper
Another strong selling point of Professor Yu’s research is the price tag attached to it. A silver-nylon mesh window can be fabricated for as little as $15.03 per 7.5m2 and in as short a time as only 20 minutes. What’s more, the windows did not lose any of their pollution-capturing capabilities after 100 uses and cleanses, and are robust enough to resist considerable physical pressure.
The material withstood 10,000 cycles of a bending test, wherein it was subjected to mechanical strain equivalent to 10%. As such, the discovery represents a light- and pollution-filtering window that’s cheap and fast to manufacture, incredibly efficient at its job and engineered to last the test of time. Surely, this represents the future of smart window technology.
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