Lampshades coated with an iron or copper-based substance could help tackle indoor air pollution.
Indoor air can be just as poor quality and harmful to health as outdoor urban air, mostly due to so-called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Made up of toxic chemicals, such as acetaldehyde and formaldehyde, these can be released from paint, cleaning products, furniture or during cooking.
To tackle this issue, Hyoungil Kim at Yonsei University in South Korea and his colleagues have developed a cheap pollutant-eliminating lampshade, which they presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco, California, on 15 August.
Last year, the team created a substance made of titanium oxide and platinum that speeds up chemical reactions using heat emitted from lightbulbs to oxidise VOCs into acetic acid and formic acid, and then into tiny amounts of carbon dioxide and water.
Now, the researchers have made a lower-cost version of the technology that uses either copper or iron.
VOCs typically exist in small concentrations in indoor environments, at around 1 part per million (ppm). When tested in a small room with VOCs at 1ppm and 10ppm, both of the lampshade coatings removed all the VOCs, similarly producing small amounts of carbon dioxide and water.
Though the experiments only looked at VOCs, the researchers expect the copper catalyst may also sterilise airborne pathogens due to the material’s disinfectant properties.
“Establishing this system is remarkably simple and convenient,” says Kim. “It only requires a coating of catalyst paste onto existing lampshades in your home.”
The team tested the lampshades using halogen or incandescent bulbs. These are commonly used in homes and emit temperatures between 100°C (212°F) and 160°C (320°F), says Kim. The researchers now hope to adapt the coatings to work with light emitting diodes (LEDs), which release much less heat.
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