Among the announcements at the start of this year, few have raised the same level of interest as those of Arconic. As part of their “The Jetsons” campaign, Arconic has envisioned a three mile high skyscraper constructed from materials that fight pollution by cleaning the air of smog.
Arconic Inc. was founded this past November during a split of the original company, Alcoa Inc, who released sections of its manufacturing division under the name Alcoa Corporation. After that move, the parent company was renamed Arconic Inc. to fit with a new direction. Now we know what that direction is.
Arconic has its eyes set on future (and they mean future) design ideas. The actual product used to clean the air, known as EcoClean, has actually existed since 2011 back when Arconic was still known as Alcoa. The science behind EcoClean is, at a high level, this: a titanium dioxide coating on a building that is used to provide air filtration with the aid of sunlight. Arconic explains the process further:
Electrons within the titanium dioxide are agitated by UV light, creating a higher state of energy. That excess energy transfers to oxygen and water molecules in the air to form free radicals, which attack any organic material on or near the EcoClean surface. These particles are then ready to be washed away with just the slightest bit of moisture, such as light rain or morning dew.
EcoClean is intended to work with the company’s existing skyscraper projects. These will eventually grow to include 3D printed materials for said skyscrapers to be larger and have more design options. As a result, they are projecting many of these buildings to hit the three mile mark with their upcoming innovations.
To provide some perspective, Arconic projects that reach 10,000 square feet would have roughly the same cleansing power of 80 trees. If you imagine that on a series of three-mile-tall buildings, it’s easy to see why Arconic has such an idyllic outlook for the future. Let’s just hope the people envisioning this future aren’t as high as their skyscrapers.