Fig. 1  Triple HEPA Filter

Licensed Mechanical Engineers Design and Model Smoke Purification Equipment

Fires across the country, including Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and especially in California consume thousands of acres of forests, homes and businesses, therefore, smoke-filled skies make air-purifiers a necessity. Consequently, smoke from a wildfire can travel hundreds of miles to infiltrate homes and offices.  A licensed Mechanical Engineer ( Licensed Mechanical Engineer ) models, develops and tests smoke and particle filters (Fig. 1) to effectively,  remove smoke from the air in your home or workplace.   Subsequently, we  added air filters to our offices in the Silicon Valley during the height of the fires, to help relieve the heavy smoke that drifted from the North.

Early Mechanical Engineers

As early as the 1600s, Mechanical Engineers and physicians decided that people could be protected by wearing different materials over their faces, protecting them from smoke, gases, and dirt particles (Fig.2).  Leonardo da Vinci  (Leonardo Di Vinci – Italian Master)  proposed that water-dipped, fine woven cloth materials,  would protect sailors from breathing in toxic powders used in weapons.  This was a renaissance face mask.

Mechanical Engineer Lewis Haslett, invented in the mid-1800s the first respirator to purify the air.  He made the Haslett Lung Protector out of moist fibers, in a face protector that had a one-way valve to trap particles.  Industrial workers began wearing a cup-shaped mask created by Hutson Hurd.

Fig. 2 Face Mask Filters

Modern Air Purifiers

A Licensed Mechanical Engineer like Klaus Hammes invented the first household consumer air purifier for coal ovens. Coal ovens were extremely dangerous, and this purifier kept the black particulate matter from the workers.  Households also started to use the air purifier (Fig. 3) and found over time people suffered less from asthma and allergies.  While we worry about air pollution in cities, instead we should worry about indoor air, which is up to 5x more polluted? A licensed Mechanical Engineer can develop many new and innovated ways to clean the air we breathe.

Mechanical Engineers today use modern tools such as computer aided design (CAD) (CAD – Glew Engineering) to model the fluid dynamics of the air flow to maximize particle reduction and improve efficiency.  Air filtration is energy intensive.  The design space, or variables and their interactions, is large for filtrations systems. Consequently, the designer must account for pressure drop, orifice sizes, duct length and size,(Fig. 4) and other parameters to ensure and balance optimal performance with capital cost, the initial hardware, and operating cost, energy use and maintenance.

 Air Purification Types

There are a number of types of air purification.  The following is a brief summary of some of the main types.

  • Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation – This type of air cleaner sterilizes fan-forced air as it passes by UV lamps.
  • HEPA Filter – Contaminated air particles pass through a filter by forced air and get trapped within the filter.
  • Activated Carbon – This porous material absorbs chemicals that are in a molecular state. It cannot absorb large contaminated particles.  It is usually used with other types of filter technology,  as is most effective at filtering harmful gasses.
  • Ionizer Purifiers – This type of air purifier uses electrically charged surfaces to generate electrically charged gas ions or air.  These charged ions then attach themselves to any airborne particles found in the air and are captured by a charged collector plate.  Ionizer purifiers release trace amounts of ozone into the air, the amount is within safety standard limits.
  • PECO – Photo Electrochemical Oxidation  ( PECO Filter ) the newest technology in air filtration systems has two filters a Pre-Filter and a Nano-Filter . The Pre-filter traps large particles such s dust and pet hair. The Nano-Filter is coated with a proprietary catalyst that breaks down pollutants at a molecular level when activated by light.

A Licensed Mechanical Engineer can design the perfect air purification system for any home, business or environment to keep us breathing clean air in our ever-changing environment.

Fig. 3  Changing Home Filter

Fig. 4 Home Humidifier