|Air Purification Technology|
Ultraviolet light rays are generated in nature by the sun and are one of nature's methods of purifying the air we breathe. Ultraviolet light rays with specific wave lengths are germicidal, destroying viruses, bacteria, and fungi. The ultraviolet component of sunlight is the main reason microbes die in the outdoor air. The ultraviolet energy available from ultraviolet lamps; however, is a much more concentrated and powerful level of UV energy than found in sunlight. UV light has been used for many years by the medical field to sanitize rooms and equipment. Ultraviolet light sanitizes air that is passed directly in its path.
The use of UV, or more specifically ultraviolet germicidal irradiation(UVGI), for the sterilization of microorganisms has been studied since the 1930's, and has been used to kill the same kind of microorganisms that are known to cause indoor air quality (IAQ) problems. The quanta of energy that ultraviolet light possesses is just the right amount of energy to break organic molecular bonds, resulting in cellular or genetic damage to the microorganisms. This damage will either cause the death of the microorganism, or render it sterile and severely weakened.
Ultraviolet light in the short wavelength form(UVC or UVGI) is primarily used for the destruction of bacteria and other microorganisms in air, liquids, and on surfaces. UV kills mold spores. Continuous dosing with UVGI can have a major impact on airborne viruses and bacteria. UV can eliminate musty, mold related odors; prevent the development of Legionella and other infectious diseases; control the proliferation of the TB bacterium; and reduce the spread of cold and flu viruses as well as other airborne diseases. UVGI lamps can destroy ANY microorganisms that comes in contact with its powerful rays. This method is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for its germicidal effects.
Along with microbial destruction, UV light is extremely effective in breaking down almost all organic contaminants. The correct wavelength of UV light will cause organic molecules to eject an electron, causing it to destabilize and break apart.
Using ultraviolet light is using the science of photochemistry. Photochemistry is the chemical reaction or change in a material induced by the radiation of light energy. Correct utilization of the ultraviolet wavelengths can dramatically improve indoor air quality.
Method - Purifying Hydroxyls
The ultraviolet light in Biozone? Air Purifiers creates a plasma, or highly energized gaseous state, that is aggressive and highly reactive and contains excited atoms and molecules, ionized gases, radicals, and free electrons. It can destroy just about all organic contaminants. The destruction mechanism primarily involves the photo-dissociation of molecular oxygen leading to the formation of highly oxidizing species, such as atomic oxygen, molecular singlet oxygen and ozone. These agents interact with contaminants converting most to volatilized carbon dioxide and water. The UV radiation also creates electron ejection of organic molecules that produces additional free radical creation. The radicals react with oxygen producing hydroperoxide ions. The hydroperoxide process activates a chain reaction with organic compounds triggering further oxidation. When additional hydrogen is added as in the form of water or water vapor (humidity), the highly oxidative species hydroxyl radicals is created. These radical ions are stable but a very potent one-electron oxidant. They are very destructive to organic contaminants because they steal hydrogen atoms from the organic materials, leaving decaying carbon ions. The theft of hydrogen from organic molecules forms even stronger hydroxyl radical bonds with even higher oxidation potential. This entire process turns into a chain reaction - the breakdown and formation of new hydroxyl radicals results in the continual decay of organic material.
There are many definitions to the term plasma, but it often refers to the fourth state of matter. For example, when sufficient energy is applied to a solid it becomes a liquid, and a liquid becomes a gas. Enough energy applied to a gas produces plasma. A plasma is a very energetic gaseous state. It is aggressive and highly reactive and contains excited atoms and molecules that can destroy just about all organic contaminants.
Plasmas are used in a variety of industries. Plasmas can completely remove all organic contamination from surfaces. They are an improved method for surface cleaning and sterilization for food processing and storage, medical equipment, and other surface applications. Plasmas can kill bacteria on various surfaces in seconds to minutes. Plasmas destroy bacteria, fungi, viruses, and spores and offer a tremendous advantage for air purification.
Ozone is commonly accepted to be a pollutant associated with large urban areas typified by Los Angeles. It is true that ozone is part of smog, but it is also true that ozone exists outside of the smog environments in even the purest of outdoor environments. The highest naturally occurring ozone levels, about .05-.08 parts per million(ppm), are found at the seashore, in forests, or in high mountainous areas - places people usually associate with clean fresh air and healthy outdoor recreation - not pollution. The slightly sharp, but fresh and pleasant, aroma you may have noticed in the air after a lightning storm is ozone, as is the distinctive smell of air-dried laundry. Average outdoor ozone levels in unpolluted areas area between .03-.05 ppm.
It is unfortunate that smog and ozone have been interchanged in the discussion of air pollution because it masks the positive characteristics of ozone as the natural way of dealing with air quality problems. Reports and scientific studies that raise questions about the safety of ozone deal with ozone levels that are above the limits recommended by recognized authorities such as the EPA, the FDA, and OSHA. The focus on smog as "air pollution" has prevented many from seeing the even greater problem of indoor air quality problems.
The same chemical soup exists in our indoor environment as exists in smog. The only variant is the concentration of the pollutant and the total lack of any means of reconditioning that air to natural standards. With our sealed homes and businesses, we have trapped all the pollutants indoors and have eliminated the one chemical that has the capacity to restore the air to its pure state - OZONE. Ozone, second only to hydroxyl radicals, is the most powerful oxidizing agent occurring naturally in our clean outdoor environments, and has the capacity to break down most of the organic chemicals that foul out indoor environments. The highly reactive quality of ozone is why it is such a powerful and efficient cleaner and purifier.
The air we breathe is made up of mostly oxygen and nitrogen. Ozone can be made from common oxygen and high electrical discharge (known as corona discharge) like a lightning storm or can be created by particular ultraviolet light waves. Either of these methods break the oxygen molecule (oxygen is normally found in pairs of atoms, O2) apart. These single oxygen atoms are extremely reactive and they can combine with molecular oxygen, resulting in Ozone (or trivalent oxygen, O3.) When this highly reactive O3 molecule floats in the environment it actively seeks out pollutant molecules. One of the atoms from the ozone will move from the O3 molecule, in the chemical reaction, to the pollutant molecule and destroy it. When the ozone attacks and destroys a pollutant, generally what is left behind is the molecular oxygen (O2), carbon dioxide (CO2), and hydrogen (H2).
This highly reactive quality of ozone is why it is such a powerful and efficient cleaner and purifier. Ozone will react with almost anything, including chemical sources of unpleasant or hazardous indoor odors. Bacteria, molds and mildews, pet odors, many cooking odors, etc., are destroyed when they react with ozone. Like chemical pollutants, the membranes or shells of bacteria contain unsaturated molecules which are destroyed by ozone. Without its protective membrane or shell, the bacterium dies. The same applies to fungi and viruses.
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For energy reasons, our modern homes and office buildings are tightly sealed and insulated. This may conserve on energy, but it also traps pollution indoors. This leads to a depletion of negatives ions and a buildup of positive ions in the air. Consequently, pollution buildups cause the air to become lifeless, stale, and quite unhealthy. Added contaminants such as tobacco smoke, mold spores, and bacteria contribute to the energy depletion of individuals who live or work in such environments. These conditions may lead to chronic fatigue, headaches, mood swings, body aches, and other illnesses. By adding negative ions to your indoor environment, you can restore the natural balance of ions and eliminate many of the pollutants. People living and working in balanced environments should experience fewer headaches, less illness, and have more energy. An improved sense of well-being can only contribute to overall happiness and productivity.
Investigators at the Environmental Protection agency (EPA) have shown how particles charged by combination with air ions tend to attach to such grounded surfaces as ceilings, walls, and floors. This is deemed desirable because many airborne toxins, such as nitrates, sulfates, and lead from automobile emissions, are particles small enough to be inhaled if they are floating around in the atmosphere.
Ions are floating in the air around us all the time and have either a positive or negative charge. Changes in their concentration, or the ratio of positively charged to negatively charged molecules can have a remarkable effect on plants and animals. It is known in science that ion depletion is the source of a wide range of human health problems, both mental and physical. Air ions are important, as a high proportion of negative ions will leave you feeling lively, uplifted, and enthusiastic. Too many positive ions tends to leave you feeling depressed, lethargic and full of aches and pains. In general, exposure to negatively ionized air has been shown to increase oxygenation of the lungs, vital capacity, and ciliary activity. All types of beneficial responses take place as a result of these friendly ions.
Ion generators produce negative ions by means of high voltage (corona) discharge, usually through stainless steel needles, or are produced by discharge. Electrons attach themselves to oxygen molecules, there by making them negatively charged ions. These negative ions attach themselves to airborne toxins and drop them to a positively charged surface. Ions basically take out larger pollutants in the air. For example, will take out the smell of smoke from a room, and neutralize the chemicals, but will not remove the smoke (particles) itself. The negative ions will remove the smoke.