Stripping away lead-based paint in a flash

Dec 11, 2006

A new paint stripper that combines the principles of a vacuum cleaner and a pulsed lamp shows promise as a much-needed new technology for removing dangerous lead-based paint from older housing, scientists in Massachusetts are reporting.

Michael J. Grapperhaus and Raymond B. Schaefer explain that existing lead abatement methods have drawbacks. Blasting and sanding, for instance, generate large amounts of toxic lead dust and may damage architectural surfaces, while chemical stripping may produce hazardous waste.

In the Dec. 15 issue of ACS' Environmental Science & Technology, they describe results of early tests on a paint stripper that uses high-intensity flashes of light — a million times more intense than sunlight — to burn off layers of lead-based paint. The flashes do not damage the underlying surface. Remains of the paint are immediately vacuumed and routed into a filtering system.

Analysis of air samples during the experiments showed no dangerous levels of lead. "These tests show that broadband incoherent light pulses can be effective in removal of lead paint from architectural materials," the researchers report. With the concept for the new stripper proven on small samples of paint, they plan to move on to more extensive studies of the technology.

Source: American Chemical Society

Explore further: A refined approach to proteins at low resolution

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Team improves solar-cell efficiency

11 hours ago

New light has been shed on solar power generation using devices made with polymers, thanks to a collaboration between scientists in the University of Chicago's chemistry department, the Institute for Molecular ...

Calif. teachers fund to boost clean energy bets

11 hours ago

The California State Teachers' Retirement System says it plans to increase its investments in clean energy and technology to $3.7 billion, from $1.4 billion, over the next five years.

Alibaba surges in Wall Street debut

11 hours ago

A buying frenzy sent Alibaba shares sharply higher Friday as the Chinese online giant made its historic Wall Street trading debut.

Dwindling wind may tip predator-prey balance

11 hours ago

Bent and tossed by the wind, a field of soybean plants presents a challenge for an Asian lady beetle on the hunt for aphids. But what if the air—and the soybeans—were still?

Recommended for you

A refined approach to proteins at low resolution

15 hours ago

Membrane proteins and large protein complexes are notoriously difficult to study with X-ray crystallography, not least because they are often very difficult, if not impossible, to crystallize, but also because ...

Base-pairing protects DNA from UV damage

17 hours ago

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich researchers have discovered a further function of the base-pairing that holds the two strands of the DNA double helix together: it plays a crucial role in protecting ...

Smartgels are thicker than water

17 hours ago

Transforming substances from liquids into gels plays an important role across many industries, including cosmetics, medicine, and energy. But the transformation process, called gelation, where manufacturers ...

Separation of para and ortho water

Sep 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —Not all water is equal—at least not at the molecular level. There are two versions of the water molecule, para and ortho water, in which the spin states of the hydrogen nuclei are different. ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

dfw2
not rated yet Dec 19, 2007
There are much easier and safer methods of stripping lead paint. There are at least half a dozen lead paint strippers that render lead non-hazardous and don't create any dust or fumes. www.leadoutpaintstripper.com