Improving the effectiveness of washing and cleaning using small, micro- or nano-scale air bubbles

Project team: Dean Burfoot
Running: Jan 2014 – Dec 2016
Project number: 131994
Proposal documentation

Many foods and food contact surfaces are washed or cleaned by either spray or deluge of water. The costs of water and its treatment are increasing so methods to reduce water usage are required by industry. Further research in Japan, using nano-scale bubbles in water, has also shown potential for practical improvements in cleaning.

There is great potential for the use of this technology. Microbial contamination or soiling that is firmly attached to a surface will require some chemical treatment following by spraying. The addition of abrasion by adding particles to the water is not practical due to the need for additional waste water treatment and particle recovery. Modifying the properties of the water by introducing air into the liquid provides the additional cleaning forces. Tension at the surface of each bubble resists forces applied to the bubble and it is this action that leads to an additional cleaning effect of the water/air mixture. Currently, there is no published information or guidance on the best bubble size. The applications of the technology are many and include cleaning of production equipment and washing of many foods.

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