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Self-Cleaning Clothes

Last week I posted an entry on how new windows can clean themselves. Using the same titanium dioxide coating and principles, independent researchers have developed a cotton fabric that will keep itself clean after being exposed to sunlight.

The titanium dioxide nanoparticles are catalysts that help to break down carbon-based molecules, and require only sunlight to trigger the reaction. The inventors believe that these fabrics could be made into self-cleaning clothes that tackle dirt, environmental pollutants and harmful microorganisms. The titanium dioxide particles covering the cloth are just 20 nanometres across, about 2,500 times smaller than the width of a human hair. The researchers' key breakthrough was to ensure that these particles had exactly the right arrangement of atoms.

New Scientist June 14, 2004

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