Science and fashion have come together in the UK, and the resulting clothes are a breath of fresh air.
Scientists have come up with a way of making clothes that destroy pollution in the atmosphere.
The fabric is treated with a photocatalyst which breaks down airborne pollutants by harnessing energy from sunlight. For large cities that could have a serious impact on air quality.
It is not unlike the process in the catalytic converter in a car exhaust pipe.
Professor Tony Ryan from the University of Sheffield explained: “A light ray comes in, hits the particle that excites electrons. Those electrons then interact with oxygen. Oxygen has two oxygen atoms together joined by a bond and it splits them apart and makes this thing called a free radical that has a lone electron. Electrons like to go around in pairs, so this lone electron runs around to find another electron to pair with and it makes peroxide and that peroxide does all the rest of the reactions.”
The technology has already been used in paints and glass to coat buildings but it has never been applied to fashion before.
And Professor Ryan believes clothing that is constantly moving through the air could prove to be far more efficient at cleaning up than static buildings.
Professor Ryan added: “Let’s say there are 10 million people in London. So a conservative estimate would be that those 10 million people – if they only took one gram out each – that would take out ten tons of nitrous oxide in London every day.”
The anti-pollution clothes bring a new meaning to the fashion terms ‘fresh designs’ and ‘clean lines’ and given time, could soon be cleaning up on the High Streets.