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New Nano-Catalyst Air Filter Can Clean Air In Smoking Room And Make It Free Of Carcinogens

A team of scientists at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) have developed new air-cleaning equipment that can effectively eliminate harmful substances in the air produced by smoking cigarettes.

Researcher Dr. Jongsoo Jurng and his colleagues at the institute created a nano-catalyst filter that is capable of removing up to 100 percent of a first class carcinogen known as acetaldehyde, a gaseous substance commonly found in cigarette smoke.

The new catalyst is also equally potent at removing other harmful particles in the air, such as tar and nicotine, by converting these substances into carbon dioxide and water vapor.

According to the KIST researchers, their newly-developed air purifying system can clean more than 80 percent of smoke produced from cigarettes by as fast as 30 minutes and 100 percent of it within one hour in a 30-square-meter room.

Other air cleaning devices often use charcoal for their filters, but these types are not known to eliminate gaseous substances in the air such as acetaldehyde. Their ability to absorb harmful particles also decreases quickly, especially in closed areas such as smoking rooms, and their filters have to be replaced at least once every other week.

The KIST nano-catalyst design, however, makes use of oxygen radicals to decompose harmful elements often included in cigarette smoke. The device works by decomposing ozone present in the air on its filter made from manganese oxide.

Jurng and his team evaluated the nano-catalyst filter's performance by installing a prototype in a 30-square-meter smoking room. The air-cleaning system was able to purify up to 80 percent of harmful elements in cigarette smoke and decompose them in C02 and water vapor within just 30 minutes. It was also able to eliminate 100 percent of elements after an hour of testing.

The test environment was designed according to the processing capacity of the nano-catalyst filter, which could allow the air inside the smoking room to circulate once every 15 minutes.

The KIST researchers believe it would take about a year or so for their new air cleaning technology to be produced commercially as the filter coating and the nano-catalyst itself had already been developed.

"If the new equipment can be simplified and is economically feasible, it will be an important tool for keeping smoking room pleasant and clean," Jurng said.

Photo: Quinn Dombrowski | Flickr 

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