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For release: November 9, 1995

Michael Finneran
(757) 864-6121

RELEASE NO. 95-110


One day soon homeowners everywhere may be protected from deadly carbon monoxide fumes, thanks to a device invented at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. It uses a new class of low-temperature oxidation catalysts to convert carbon monoxide to non-toxic carbon dioxide at room temperature. It can also remove formaldehyde fumes.

The catalysts initially were developed for research involving carbon dioxide lasers.

Industry already has shown an interest. Rochester Gas and Electric Co., of Rochester, N.Y., has an agreement with NASA Langley to develop a product for habitable spaces such as homes, cars and aircraft.

And the Mantic Corp., of Salt Lake City, Utah, plans to use them in breathing apparatus, such as firefighter masks. The catalysts also have applications as trace-gas detectors, and in cold-engine emission control.

To work, the catalysts are applied to a surface. Air passing over the surface reacts with the catalysts, transforming carbon monoxide and formaldehyde. The device requires no energy for operation, doesn’t need to be plugged in, has no moving parts and lasts a long time.

"Simplicity is the beauty of this technology. It just sits there and works on its own," said Dr. Billy T. Upchurch, of NASA Langley’s Experimental Testing Technology Division.

Color 8 x 10 photographs are available.

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