Catalytic particles for rapid decontamination in carbon filters and clothing

Year 2005
Project team T. Alan Hatton

Removing hazardous chemicals

The removal of toxic and irritating gases, aerosols, or vapors from air is commonly achieved by the use of carbon filters. But these filters, used in personal respirator cartridges, garments, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, only remove organic vapors with boiling points above 65C. Some vapors, such as nerve agents, possess volatility and pressure sufficient to remain hazardous. Impregnating the activated carbon with metallic ions, metal oxides, and organic compounds can strongly enhance the performance of gas masks. These materials are environmentally friendly, cost-effective, selective, reactive at room temperature, and easily dispersed in carbon filters. This project is developing a technology in which these catalytic particles capture organophosphorus (OP) chemicals, such as pesticides, herbicides, and nerve agents, and irreversibly convert them to another species. OP vapors or aerosols passing through the modified filter decompose on contact, and the potentially harmful products that remain are captured.