New Nanoparticle Coating Eats Air Pollutants

Scientists at a Spanish university have created a material which could be painted on to concrete surfaces to reduce substantial amounts of air pollutants emitted into the atmosphere.

What's the Latest Development?


A research project sponsored by the Spanish Ministry for the Economy and Competitiveness has yielded a coating of nanoparticles which, once applied to concrete surfaces, could eliminate substantial amounts of air pollutants in the atmosphere. The material has a built-in property such that "when the sunlight hits it, it produces free radicals on its surface that attack the air pollutants, specifically the monoxides and the nitrogen oxides," said Javier Goicoechea, a scientist at the University of Navarre. Due to its porous surface, concrete is an ideal place to apply the coating, taking advantage of an increased surface area. 

What's the Big Idea? 

To enable commercial production of the new nanosubstance, scientists want to create a solution as close to paint as possible so that it can be applied on-site, is relatively cheap and sufficiently tough to withstand the elements. "The good thing," said Goicoechea, "is that we are talking about very thin coatings of less than a micron (a millionth part of a metre) and which adapt very well to the profile of the material." In tests, the coating was highly successful and the research groups estimates it could eliminate 90% of nitrogen oxides, 80% of hydrocarbons, and 75% of carbon monoxides emitted into the atmosphere. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com


LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

What’s behind our appetite for self-destruction?

Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?

Photo by Brad Neathery on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Each new year, people vow to put an end to self-destructive habits like smoking, overeating or overspending.

Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

Douglas Rushkoff – It’s not the technology’s fault

It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.

Think Again Podcasts
  • It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
  • Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
Keep reading Show less