Student Invention Helps Safeguard Health-Care Workers Treating EbolaColumbia students develop a powder that turns bleach blue to ensure fully sterilized suits.
On Saturday, Jason Kang, Katherine Jin and Kevin Tyan are scheduled to travel to West Africa—for the second time in six months—to gather feedback for a solution they made to combat Ebola.
They have developed a powder that colorizes disinfecting bleach, which is used to cleanse the suits of those working near infectious diseases before they take them off. Because bleach is transparent, it is difficult to know if the uniform has been sterilized.
“It’s impossible to guarantee complete coverage using bleach,” Mr. Kang said last week. “The original idea was to maybe have a suit that would color each time you hit it.”
Basic pH information can help in determining the right cleaning product.
The pH scale ranges from 0.0 to 14.0 and it’s important to understand that it’s a logarithmicscale. This means that a change of one pH unit indicates a ten-fold increase in the concentration of hydrogen ions. For example, if we begin with a solution that is pH 7 neutral, when the alkalinity of the solution is increased to 8, the strength is now 10 times stronger. Increase the pH to 9 and the solution is 100 times stronger than it was at 7. This rapid intensification continues until pH 14, which is 10 million times as alkaline as pH 7. It is the same going the other direction on the scale – a pH of 0 is 10 million times as acidic as pH of 7.
Note: the performance of a cleaning product cannot be determined simply by knowing the pH of the product. Just because a solution is more acidic or more alkaline does not mean it has superior cleaning capabilities. What really happens in cleaning is an attempt to “neutralize.”
Acids: Acids include coffee, cola, vinegar and lemon juice. In cleaning products, acids help break down things like rust or mineral deposits. Some common cleaning products that have an acidic pH are: hard water/mineral deposit removers, toilet bowl cleaners, tub and tile cleaners and mold solutions.
Bases: Bases include baking soda, Borax, ammonia and bleach. They’re useful for removing fatty and oily soils from surfaces. Some common cleaning products that have a basic pH include: oven cleaner, all purpose cleaners and laundry detergents.
The pH of the stain you are attempting to remove combined with the type of the surface you are addressing should dictate the pH of the cleaner that you are using.
Have a great day and an even better sales week!