Titanium dioxide is a white powder. It is used as a whitener for paints, in food products, toothpaste, and many other consumer goods. Titanium dioxide is a strong photocatalyst. A photocatalyst produces surface oxidation to eliminate bacteria and other materials when it is exposed to the sun or a fluorescent lamp. Therefore, when a product is made of TiO2 in the sun, organic compounds such as dirt, mold and mildew, and bacteria break down, without consuming the TiO2
Another advantage of products made from titanium dioxide is that it has a self-cleaning surface. When water hits the titanium dioxide, a smooth sheet forms instead of tiny droplets. The sheet of water gets under the dirt and lifts it off the surface and washes it away. The combination of these effects makes TiÜ2 self-cleaning to a large extent, and it can be applied in microscopically thin coatings to building materials, glass, or even fabrics.
Scientists in Hong Kong are developing dirt-resistant clothing with titanium dioxide and a Japanese company has manufactured ceramic tiles using the chemical. The titanium dioxide self-cleaning ceramic tiles, according to the National Institute of Health's Environmental Health Perspectives, have achieved a 99.9 percent bacterial kill rate within one hour for such strains as penicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.
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