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Smog-Gobbling Buildings

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The Torre de Especialidadesis in Mexico City boasts of a façade that can digest polluted air and erase the effects of thousands of cars on the road. This hospital building takes advantage of a new tile made by the Berlin-based company Elegant Embellishments called proSolve37e. The tiles are based on the technology that Alcoa unveiled a couple of years ago, except the resultant façades are much prettier and the effects are more powerful.

The technology combines a basic chemistry with smart construction to create façades that can digest polluted air and erase the effects of thousands of cars on the road. It is effectively a coating that can be applied to aluminum and other building materials. A titanium dioxide coating on the building material creates a chemical reaction when it comes into contact with ultraviolet rays and pollutants in the air.

Electrons in the titanium dioxide become supercharged and interact with water molecules in the air. This releases free radicals that break down organic material on the building panel and pollutants such as nitrogen oxide in the surrounding atmosphere. The tiles clean themselves while converting pollution into harmless compounds. Meanwhile, the titanium oxide coating remains unaffected, ready to zap some more smog. The particular mesh-like design of the façade on the Torre de Especialidadesis maximizes surface area, boosting the tiles’ pollution equalizing effects. The shape of the tiles creates omni-directionality and surface enlargement, which enhances their ability to receive and scatter UV light. The tiles effectively suck the smog into their death grip, cleaning the equivalent of the pollution created by 8,750 cars each day.

Source: motherboard.vice.com

 

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