Soon, wastage of water while washing clothes can be stopped as removing of greasy stains from them will be possible by simply exposing them to abundant sunlight. In a time when depleting ground water levels has become one of the major concerns, such an invention is a great achievement.
A group of researchers from the RMIT University in Australia have developed a technology which helps removal of organic waste from textile when exposed to light. The method is cheap and energy efficient.
“There’s more work to do to before we can start throwing out our washing machines, but this advance lays a strong foundation for the future development of fully self-cleaning textiles,” said researcher Rajesh Ramanathan. The research paper was published in the journal Advanced Materials Interfaces.
“The advantage of textiles is they already have a 3D structure so they are great at absorbing light, which in turn speeds up the process of degrading organic matter,” he explained.
The scientists have worked with copper and silver-based nanostructures, which can absorb light. When these nanostructures are exposed to light, they receive an energy boost that creates ‘hot electrons’. These ‘hot electron’ release energy which helps the nanostructures to degrade organic matter.
A stable set of nanostructures were developed on the sample clothes by dipping them into a few solutions. When these nano-enhanced textiles were exposed to light, the stains were removed within six minutes.
“Our next step will be to test our nano-enhanced textiles with organic compounds that could be more relevant to consumers, to see how quickly they can handle common stains like tomato sauce or wine,” Ramanathan added.
However, now a bigger challenge for the researchers is to bring the concept out of the lab by working out how to build these nanostructures on an industrial scale and permanently attach them to textiles.
To create a cleaner environment for the future generations, people across the world are reducing dependency on non-renewable energy sources and embracing non-combustible energy resources.
Countries like China, Germany and Italy have made colossal efforts towards expanding their solar power capacity in the past few years. With 33 solar parks in 21 states, India is currently ranked 11th in the world in terms of solar power generation.
Along with adopting bigger climate-stabilization pathways such innovations should also be applauded, as bigger changes it terms of climatic conditions can come only when we are open to adopt a better way of living.