Smog-Cutting Concrete

By David A. Greene / Published by Dwell
Recommended by
The new Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis includes two 30-foot-tall sculptures made of photocatalytic concrete. Though the squiggly sculptures are supposed to invoke the international symbol for water, they use a combination of sunlight and titanium dioxide to do their air-scrubbing.

The best (industry-offered) explanation of how this process works can be found here; the gist is that titanium dioxide (a common white pigment, used in everything from cream cheese to paint) embedded in the concrete acts as a catalyst for the polluting chemicals, breaking them down faster than ultraviolet light alone. Nowhere is the anti-pollution benefit of the sculptures quantified, however: But even if a couple of giant Ionic Breeze machines would work better, the sculptures are an important investment in a passive technology that until now has been used mainly in (gasp) France.

d

David A. Greene

@david_a_greene

Dave has contributed to Dwell since its inception. He's a CalArts dropout, a former art critic for The New Yorker, and a producer of comedies on TV. He lives in, and writes from, Los Angeles.

Comments
Everybody loves feedback. Be the first to add a comment.
The author will be notified whenever new comments are added.