Antimicrobial copper could improve HVAC
Research into copper HVAC units may improve indoor air quality and efficiency.
The U.S. Dept. of Defense is funding research into antimicrobial copper components that can control the growth of organisms in HVAC units, according to a Copper Development Assoc. press release . The units are being studied under controlled laboratory conditions at the University of South Carolina, and units are installed for a field trial at the Fort Jackson military barracks in Columbia, S.C.
HVAC units provide dark, moist environments that are the perfect breeding grounds for the bacteria and fungi that are associated with foul odors and poor air quality . The microbes can also build up on heat-transfer surfaces and compromise the thermal efficiency of the unit. Components being replaced with copper in the studies are cooling coils, heat-exchange fins, and drip pans, which tend to allow microbial contaminants to thrive. In addition to being antimicrobial, the copper elements are highly recyclable and are better thermal conductors than their aluminum counterparts.
"Improvements in building and construction methods have generally led to increased energy efficiency, but at the same time, these 'tighter' building envelopes tend to trap bacteria, leading to odors," said Charles Feigley, principal investigator for the study. "The results of this real-world trial should encourage advancements in the design of HVAC systems."
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Annual Salary Survey
Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.
There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.
But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.
Read more: 2015 Salary Survey