Pollution beware, the concrete’s comin’ after ya. That’s what scientists at Eindhoven University of Technology
in the Netherlands are saying. They have developed a concrete coated with titanium dioxide that removes nitrogen oxide from the air. Nitrogen oxides
result from fuel burning at high temperatures, typically in automobile engines. These oxides cause several health problems, not the least of is difficult breathing. They are also responsible for environmental problems, including ozone and smog.
The photocatalytic material
in the new concrete uses sunlight to convert nitrogen oxide into a harmless form of nitrate that simply washes off. The titanium dioxide, often found in paints, is a self-cleaning chemical that will break down algae and dirt, keeping the paved surface clean while clearing the air.
The paving material, after successful lab tests, has been used to pave a section of road in Hengelo
in the Netherlands. A similar area was covered with normal concrete, then air samples were taken. The air-purifying properties were evident in the new material vs traditional paving.
Additionally, the material can be mixed with asphalt, if concrete alone does not meet the requirements of a project. Cost, as can be expected, is higher than regular non-treated concrete. Struyk Verwo Infra is the company that manufacturers the paving stones which are now on the market.
In a similar attempt to find pollution reducing materials, Chinese researchers may be working with nanotech polymers. Regardless of the inventive, technologically derived materials that absorb or rid the air of pollution, we shouldn’t lose sight of the need to reduce the origin, the cause of that pollution.
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