New titanium dioxide tiles developed to fight against Air Pollution

Jun 7, 2014 15:40 IST

New titanium Oxide tiles were developed by the research team from University of California to fight against Air Pollution. The coating of titanium dioxide mixture when applied to roof will clean up the air of surrounding area.

The coating when applied to an average-sized residential roof breaks down the same amount of smog-causing nitrogen oxides per year as a car driven 17703km.

Researchers had calculated that 21 tonnes of nitrogen oxides would be eliminated daily if tiles on one million roofs were coated with their titanium dioxide mixture. The coating will cost only about 5 US dollar or 300 rupees.

Nitrogen oxides are formed when certain fuels are burned at high temperatures. Nitrogen oxides then react with volatile organic compounds in the presence of sunlight to create smog.

About the process

First of all, the researchers coated two identical off-the-shelf clay tiles with different amounts of titanium dioxide, a common compound found in everything from paint to food to cosmetics.

The tiles were then placed inside a miniature atmospheric chamber that the students built out of wood, Teflon and PVC piping.  The chamber was connected to a source of nitrogen oxides and a device that reads concentrations of nitrogen oxides.

They used ultraviolet light to simulate sunlight, which activates the titanium dioxide and allows it to break down the nitrogen oxides. They found the titanium dioxide coated tiles removed between 88 per cent and 97 per cent of the nitrogen oxides.

They also found there was not much of a difference in nitrogen oxide removal when different amounts of the coating were applied, despite one having about 12 times as much titanium dioxide coating.

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