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Self-Decontaminating Materials

The current generation equipment used by the American military (as well as most other armed forces around the world) for decontaminating equipment after a bio/chemical weapons attack -- or, much more commonly, after training for a bio/chem attack -- is hazardous, nasty stuff. DARPA (the US military research agency) is now looking for material which can self-decontaminate with little or no resulting hazardous waste. This material should be able to coat all manner off equipment, including electronics, and be effective against a wide array of biological threats.

This strikes me as a material which could have applications beyond the battlefield. It seems to me that this is just the sort of technology which could "spin-off" into the world of environmental clean-up. What green uses would you suggest for this material?


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» Smart Bioresponsive Polymers from Bioscience Engineering at the University of Cambridge, UK
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Comments (6)

Stefan Thomas:

How about decontaminating your mind from the poison of the military-industrial complex? This is a band-aid solution of the worst kind.


Stefan. I'd love to hear more about how to do that!

Stefan Thomas:


I will rise to the bait. Dump your Star Wars and Star Trek stuff - throw it out! Now! Including the original episodes from the sixties. And see if you can find a short story by EMalled Forster called, "The Machine Stops". Then get back to me.

Duncan Stewart:

Fungi (reportedly - see http://www.fungi.com/mycotech/mycova.html, and scroll down to 'mycoremediation') can decontaminate some hazardous wastes, although probably not at 'properly militaristic' speeds. Rub mushroom paste on your M1; a moving feast! Stefan - nice post-box thinking, there. kudos.

Dish washing and laundry would be two things that jump to mind -- could eliminate some water usage...

I was also thinking as I entered the 16th street BART station in San Francisco that public spaces could do with a good cleaner. The plaza was rebuilt just a few months ago, and already it looks as though it was built a couple decades ago. Looks and smells terrible.


we're designing Poona Railway station precincts
.The building carapasce could be organic
sounds like fun! india needs clean air, and maintenance free building carapasces.
tiny plants on top to filter air, and water weeds to recycle water.
need more info on this self-cleaning material stuff


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