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Nano-catalyst coated ceramic filter improves smoking room environment

09 July 2015

Prototype equipment developed by KIST can purify 100 percent of the air within a 30 square metre smoking room where ten people are simultaneously smoking, in just one hour.

The prototype air cleaning system installed in an actual smoking room (photo: KIST)

In partnership with Korea Tobacco & Ginseng Corporation (KT&G), a research team from the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) has developed a nano-catalyst filter coated with a manganese oxide-based nano-catalyst, which can be used in a smoking room to reduce and purify major harmful substances of cigarette smoke.

The KIST-developed catalyst removes 100 percent of the particle substances of cigarette smoke, such as nicotine and tar, converting those into water vapour and carbon dioxide. According to the research team, the air cleaning equipment, based on the newly-developed catalyst can purify over 80 percent of the cigarette smoke within 30 minutes and 100 percent of it within one hour in a 30 square metre smoking room, where 10 people are simultaneously smoking

Activated charcoal-based filters have typically been used in a smoking room to remove gaseous materials in cigarette smoke. However, those filters are not effective in removing gaseous materials such as acetaldehyde; their absorbtion performance decreases fast in a closed facility such as a smoking room, and they need to be replaced at least every other week.

The research team has developed a nano-catalyst filter by evenly coating a manganese oxide-based (Mn/TiO2) nano-catalyst powder onto a ceramic-based filter media. The nano-catalyst filter uses a technology that decomposes elements of cigarette smoke using oxygen radicals, which are generated by decomposing ozone in the air on the surface of the manganese-oxide-based nano-catalyst filter.

A view inside the prototype (photo: KIST)

An evaluation test with total volatile organic compounds (TVOC), such as acetaldehyde, nicotine and tar, which account for the largest volume of gaseous materials in cigarette smoke, was conducted to evaluate the performance of the catalyst in a prototype machine. The results revealed decomposition of more than 98 percent of these harmful substances.

With the nano-catalyst and filter coating technologies already developed, the researchers believe it will take a year or so more to commercialise this technology.

The research team was led by KIST's Dr Jongsoo Jurng and Dr Gwi-Nam

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