Your home is your safe haven, and now, a new technology is offering to help you keep it safe from pollutants contained in the outside air. While you may not be able to do much about the polluted city air you have to breathe all day, you can rest assured that come evening, your environment will be pure — at least, insofar as your air is concerned.
As per a new report in Nano Letters, scientists at Stanford University in California and Tsinghua University in Beijing have created a number of blow-spun polymers, which are materials usually found in rubber gloves and tents, capable of capturing the vast majority of the pollutants in the air.
So how is this material being implemented? In your window screens, of course. By creating screens with these pollutant-filtering nanofibers, residents of smoggy cities like New York, Beijing, and Shanghai may be able to find respite from their urban environments.
The application of the polymers is quite an interesting process, as the nitrogen-containing material is actually sprayed onto existing window screens in a technique known as blow-spinning. As Scientific American explains, this process involves “a stream of air [stretching] out droplets of polymer solution in midspray to form an extremely thin layer of nanofibers.” And impressively, these nanofibers are capable of keeping out the hazardous particles that can otherwise find their way into our lungs.
In initial tests, the nanofibers appeared to work quite well in keeping out pollutants. “In a 12-hour field test on a window in Beijing under severely hazy air conditions, a window screen coated with the so-called polyacrylonitrile nanofibers filtered out 90 percent of harmful particulate matter, which can cause lung cancer and heart disease,” Scientific American reported. And if that doesn’t help you breathe easier, we don’t know what will.
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