A delayed takeoff for new passenger cabin air purification technology

Dec 19, 2006

Further improvements are needed before a promising new technology can be used to upgrade air quality in commercial jetliner cabins, scientists from Austria, Denmark and the United States have concluded in a study scheduled for the Jan. 1 issue of ACS' Environmental Science & Technology, a semi-monthly publication.

Armin Wisthaler and colleagues studied photocatalytic oxidation, a leading candidate for improving the quality of air in commercial jetliners. Existing air purification technology removes airborne particles, but not odors and the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that may cause eye and nose irritation. Photocatalytic oxidation units can remove VOCs, and aircraft manufacturers have considered using that technology in combination with existing air filtration systems.

The researchers checked the ability of two prototype air cleaners, combining filtration and photocatalytic oxidation, during simulated seven-hour flights. A seemingly trivial event — opening of alcohol-moistened wet wipes distributed with airline meals for hand cleaning — tipped off the researchers to an unanticipated problem with the photocatalytic technology.

Photocatalytic oxidation changed airborne alcohol from the wipes into unacceptably high levels of acetaldehyde in cabin air. Alcohol also can get into cabin air from other hygienic products, alcoholic beverages, cosmetics and medicines, the researchers note.

Source: ACS

Explore further: Jumping hurdles in the RNA world

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Optofluidics could improve energy applications

Sep 13, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- The ability to manipulate light and fluids on a single chip, broadly called "optofluidics," has led to such technologies as liquid-crystal displays and liquid-filled optical fibers for fast ...

Recommended for you

Jumping hurdles in the RNA world

Nov 21, 2014

Astrobiologists have shown that the formation of RNA from prebiotic reactions may not be as problematic as scientists once thought.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.