Thursday, June 17, 2004

Progress Still Possible: No-Wash Clothing Discovered

MARK PEPLOW, NATURE - In the classic 1951 film, The Man in the White Suit, Alec Guinness played a scientist who invents a fabric that never gets dirty or wears out. A chemist's pipe dream perhaps, but the prospect of self-cleaning clothes might be getting closer. Scientists have invented an efficient way to coat cotton cloth with tiny particles of titanium dioxide. These nanoparticles are catalysts that help to break down carbon-based molecules, and require only sunlight to trigger the reaction. The inventors believe that these fabrics could be made into self-cleaning clothes that tackle dirt, environmental pollutants and harmful microorganisms.

The titanium dioxide particles covering the cloth are just 20 nanometres across, about 2,500 times smaller than the width of a human hair. The researchers' key breakthrough was to ensure that these particles had exactly the right arrangement of atoms, called an 'anatase' crystal structure, which has previously been difficult to achieve in such tiny grains. This arrangement boosts the particles' catalytic power.

3 Comments:

At 11:35 AM, Blogger BSizzler said...

Hey do you have the link to the article this came from? Id like to show my chem teacher.

 
At 11:36 AM, Blogger BSizzler said...

nevermind i found it.

 
At 11:56 AM, Blogger Luke said...

Click the title for the link. :-)

 

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