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Glass cleaning

December 20, 2004
Glass itself without additional facilities removes dirt sticking to it.

Photo: Alexey Ilyin
Strange as it may seem, the problem of cleaning factory building glass is hard to solve. All cunning robots invented so far work well on a smooth surface only. They perform their function while cleaning a glass cube of an office building, but the case with factory buildings is much more difficult, especially as regards old structures. As a result, dirty glass requires additional illumination of working places which consumes great amounts of electric power.
However, Japanese researchers seem to have achieved success in this field. The idea is as follows. Glass itself without additional facilities removes dirt sticking to it.

Photo: Alexey Ilyin
Glass is covered with a very thin layer of special material titanium oxide. This “magic” material is a catalyst. Ultraviolet radiation of the sun spectrum causes a chemical reaction in it, thereby making the glass clean.
In Japan, there are already multi-storey buildings coated with a so-called catalytic film. Self-cleaning coats are coming into use in hospitals and public buildings. Next year, a new international airport Tsubu will be opened in Japan. Over six thousand photo catalytic panels were used to trim the terminal. Sunlight will maintain cleanliness of the huge building.
Cleaning is performed on a microlevel fine layers of substance replace mechanical robot cleaners.


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