Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

On the horizon: a “rinse” for washing machines that dries clothes

10.08.2005


Think of it as a kind of chemical clothes wringer.



University of Florida engineers have developed a compound that forces clothes in the washer to shed 20 percent more water during the spin cycle than in normal conditions. The result: A load of clothes dries faster in the dryer, saving energy — and reducing homeowners’ electricity bills and time spent in the laundry room.

“We feel it’s very cost-effective research and convenient for consumers,” said Dinesh Shah, a professor of chemical engineering and director of the UF Center for Surface Science and Engineering.


Shah and Daniel Carter, a doctoral student in chemical engineering, will publish their second article about their research this month in Langmuir, a surface science journal. UF has applied for a patent on the research, which was funded with $200,000 from Procter & Gamble, a major manufacturer of laundry detergent and related products.

More than 56 percent of Americans own electric dryers, with a typical dryer handling 300 loads per year, Carter said. With the average load requiring from 2.7 to 3 kilowatt hours of electricity, that means drying clothes equates to 5 percent of total residential electricity consumption, costing $2.6 billion annually, Carter said.

A conservative 10 percent reduction in drying times would save consumers $266 million annually. But Shah and Carter say they can do better than that.

Their invention: A water-shedding compound created from a mix of common detergents and fabric softeners.

Carter and Shah said the researchers’ key insight was that the spaces between tiny fibers in the weave of fabrics comprise minute tubes, or capillaries, which retain water due to surface tension. It’s the same phenomenon that causes a submerged straw to hold water when covered at the other end and lifted out of the surface, Carter said.

The researchers reasoned that reducing this surface tension would reduce the water retained by fabric. They first tested this idea using finger-sized copper containers dotted with drain holes. Filled with fabric and water and placed in a centrifuge, the containers mimicked the conditions of spin cycling washing machines – except that the water loss and fabric retention could be easily measured.

When the researchers discovered that some compounds apparently increased water loss, they expanded their experiments to bigger fabrics and a real washer and dryer. The dryer sits in a crowded lab on a scale, allowing Carter to compare different wet loads by weight to their total drying times.

Their experiments revealed that one ratio of a common detergent and fabric softener – five parts detergent, one part fabric softener – added before the spin cycle forced the clothes to shed 20 percent more water than untreated clothes. The clothes then dried 20 percent faster.

Daniel Carter | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ufl.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht When corals eat plastics
24.05.2018 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

When corals eat plastics

24.05.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Surgery involving ultrasound energy found to treat high blood pressure

24.05.2018 | Medical Engineering

First chip-scale broadband optical system that can sense molecules in the mid-IR

24.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>