Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Laundry additive cleans air pollution

By Richard Maino

Within just two years, we could all be wearing clothes that purify the air as we simply move around in them.

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Plans are being developed to commercialise a revolutionary liquid laundry additive - created in the UK - called Catalytic Clothing - that contains microscopic pollution-eating particles.

The new additive - CatClo for short - is the result of collaboration between England’s University of Sheffield and the London College of Fashion, with initial support from the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council.

Items of clothing only need to be washed in the additive once for it to remain active, because the nanoparticles of titanium dioxide attach themselves to fabrics very tightly.

After the particles come into contact with nitrogen oxides in the air, they react with these pollutants and oxidise them in the fabric.

The nitrogen oxides treated in this way are odourless, colourless and pose no pollution hazard because they are removed when the item of clothing is next washed, if they have not already been dissipated harmlessly in sweat.

The additive is also harmless and the nanoparticles are unnoticeable from the wearer’s point of view.

One person wearing clothes treated with CatClo would be able to remove about five grams of nitrogen oxides from the air in the course of an average day, roughly equivalent to the amount produced each day by the average family car.

As well as the general benefits that would result from people...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

London Press Service