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Counter Tops That Clean Themselves?

Anti-bacterial sprays may soon become a thing of the past if the company that created windows that partially clean themselves can bring the technology indoors. Researchers at Penn State University and PPG Industries are trying to develop self-cleaning countertops that would keep bacteria from getting a toehold and also kill them on contact. Self-cleaning and germ-killing counters could be a big boon for PPG, which has developed self-cleaning glass called SunClean. The counters would work much like the self-cleaning glass, which is coated with a thin layer of titanium dioxide. Titanium dioxide--also called titania--is often used as a white pigment in paints and some foods; but research also shows that when titanium dioxide is activated by ultraviolet light, it destroys any organic molecules it touches, including dirt.

Counters would be coated with a thin layer--about 80,000 times thinner than a human hair--of the new chemical compounds. When hit by ultraviolet rays from lights, the coating would produce electrically charged particles that rip apart the chemical bonds of bacteria. The slightly charged coating would also be chemically slippery, preventing bacteria from sticking to the surface.

USA Today July 26, 2004

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