Origins of air purification
The first form of air purification was a respirator style mask, worn on the face to protect from gasses and other harmful particles in the air. This development has been dated back to the 16th century. Various forms of this design continued to pop up throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. These later designs were made specifically to protect sailors and miners. In 1848 Lewis Haslett received the first patent for a air purification device.
As time went on, air purification got more and more advanced. The first High Efficiency Particulate Air filters (HEPA filters) were created by the United States Armed Forces in the 40’s. These filters were used in the development of the atomic bomb. The technology of the H.E.P.A. filters were considered classified until World War Two came to an end. After the war the design was released to be used by the public.
The first in home heating and cooling purification system was designed by two brothers, Klaus and Manfred Hammes, in Germany. In 1998 the two brothers successfully released the first modern day air purifier, the “IQAir HealthPro Plus.” This system was not released to the United States until two years later in the year 2000.
Different Methods of Air Purification
Listed below are three of the most common air purification methods today and how they work.
1. High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA)
HEPA filters are held to a standard of 99.97-percent, in trapping particles larger than .3 microns. These filters are designed in a accordion style, to assist in the trapping of unwanted particles. HEPA filters are made up of three mechanisms. The first is called interception. This is where a particle sticks to a fiber. The second is called impaction, this happens when larger particles get fully embedded in the fibers. The third and final mechanism used in HEPA filters is called diffusion. In this process no particles are actually caught, but instead are combined with gas. Diffusion allows these particles to be caught the next time they are passed through the filter. These filters are one of the most efficient in the removal of particles, however they do not remove smells or gasses.
2. Activated Carbon Filters
This style filter is used in the purification of water as well as air. Carbon filters are very efficient in the trapping of gasses and odors. There are multiple health benefits to using these filters. Because these filters trap formaldehyde, they help greatly with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). By removing the majority of odors, carbon filters help in the maintenance of asthma and allergies. Find the best air purifier for allergies in contrast to HEPA filters, Carbon filters are not reliable in the removal of actual particles in the air.
3. Purifying with Ultraviolet Technology
Ultraviolet air filters are excellent when it comes to killing viruses and bacteria in the air. However these filters do not trap particles, which is why they are normally used in combination with other filter methods. As microorganisms are fed through the filter, they are killed by the ultraviolet rays produced inside. Ultraviolet filters have been known to produce ozone gas, a harmful pollutant, however the manufacturers of these filters are working on eliminating this problem completely.