A new type of air filter has the potential to work faster, cheaper and better than any other, killing almost all air bacteria and viruses in a fraction of a second.
It is a dream of gameitines, and is a bullish weapon against the spread of infectious diseases, some of which, like measles, can eventually remain suspended in the air for an hour.
Not only is the new device effective in killing viruses, it can actually prevent disease. And if the technology can be elaborated, the authors say that one day it could replace the face-to-face mask, allowing us to breathe clean air on the flight.
"The results tell us that non-thermal plasma treatment is very effective in deactivating airborne viruses," says Krista Wigginton, a civil and environmental engineer at the University of Michigan.
"There are limited technologies for air disinfection, so this is an important result."
Nonthermal plasma has been around for over a century, and has been fully researched. It is a testament to the potential of technology that we are still finding it useful today.
The concept seems to be like an oxymoron, but basically nonthermal plasma such as flame is without the heat, created by the use of an electromagnetic reactor.
By launching pure oxygen gas through one of these special structures, a device such as static electricity begins with the new device. The plasma contains only the ionized or cut air particles that form around each spark.
The device is like a simple pipe, but inside, it is filled with glass beads that are responsible for the tiny leakage of this capture. As electricity flows through the system, electrons are flown and atoms are drawn from their molecules, producing silent brightness.
The result is many free radicals, which are very reactive particles desperate to achieve a stable balance by creating new compounds. The radical oxygen is particularly excited, and when it reacts with a normal oxygen molecule at room temperature, it quickly creates ozone, an identified anti-anticoagulant agent.
Within minutes, previous studies showed that plasma cell wall bacterial exposure can be ruptured, its normal activity weakened and destroyed.
"In one study," the authors, "a dielectric barrier discharge reactor (DBD) NTP with 10-plasma exposure and a very high air flow rate (25 L / s) lead to 97 percent E. coli deactivation. "
The new device has a similar effect on viruses, which has successfully affected the installation and installation of 99.9 per cent of a test virus – all within a quarter.
"In those void spaces, Sparks have started you," says the engineer and senior study author Herek Clack from the University of Michigan.
"Through the packed bed, the pathogens in the air flow are oxidised by unstable atoms called roots. A virus leaves a reduced capacity for infection of cells."
The new technique is a two-framework approach that has full potential. The device not only physically captures the virus within the airflow, but more than 99 per cent of its success is actually deactivating the virus.
This parallel approach is faster and more effective than the air filters, surgical masks or ultraviolet light techniques we use to protect ourselves today. Ozone generated by the plasma is not a threat, as it is well within regulatory standards.
While the technology shows a great promise to people and especially to hospitals, animals and Clark are starting instead of animals.
The first candidate is a pig farm in Ann Arbor, a promising field of research in more than one way, and livestock viruses are suspected of encouraging human outbreaks.
"Technology has a long history, but it's only a new type of use," says Clack.
A new limit may change the air we breathe.
This study was published in 2006 The Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics.
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