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: Selenium compounds boost immune system to fight against cancer

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

Heat-conducting plastic developed

4 hours ago

The spaghetti-like internal structure of most plastics makes it hard for them to cast away heat, but a University of Michigan research team has made a plastic blend that does so 10 times better than its conventional ...

Electronic switches on the molecular scale

9 hours ago

A molecular electronic switch is a junction created from individual molecules that can alternate between two or more stable states, making the switch act as a conductor or an insulator. These switches show ...

Mimicking photosynthesis with man-made leaves

9 hours ago

Scientists have long been trying to emulate the way in which plants harvest energy from the sun through photosynthesis. Plants are able to absorb photons from even weak sunlight using light antennae made ...

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.