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College students work to sterilize air, kill pathogens on buses
Date:4/27/2012

iosciences company Becton Dickinson. "Knowing Rice had some expertise in tuberculosis, I contacted Maria Oden to see if the university could help."

Oden, a professor in the practice of engineering education and director of Rice's Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen, pitched the idea to students looking for capstone design projects, which are required of all senior engineering majors at Rice. Five took on the challenge.

With Feske, Oden and Rice bioengineering lecturer Matthew Wettergreen as advisers and METRO staffers offering technical help, the team came up with a streamlined system that falls well within the ability of a METRO bus to power it while surpassing even their own stringent requirements that FluProof kill 99 percent of airborne pathogens.

The CityBusters team installed a unit on a working METRO bus and demonstrated it during the annual George R. Brown School of Engineering Design Showcase, held during Rice's UnConvention open house April 12. "We have two lamps installed, one on each side," said team member Lue as he stood at the back of the bus and pointed to one of the units above the seats. The unit was visibly glowing through a transparent cover. "All the air passes through both lamps from an overhead duct. Any air that's exposed to the light will be sterilized, and any pathogens will be killed," he said. "The overall design is fairly simple, but it does what it needs to do."

"Our design has a couple of unique features," Spinella said. "We used reflective aluminum to line the inside of the ducts, which doubles the intensity of the UV lamps. We also used an air-flow sensor so that when the bus is running and air is flowing normally, we can be sure the lamps are on. When the air isn't moving, the lamps turn off for power efficiency."

Tests on the FluProof-equipped bus included both UV intensity analysis and microbial air sampling. "When we cultured the air samples gathered from our bus, we discovered zero bac
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Contact: David Ruth
david@rice.edu
713-348-6327
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert

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