Gross cleanup

Project summary

Cleaning of surfaces is an operation common to our individual lives but is also widely relevant to industrial operations, like tank and pipe cleaning, and environmental ones, like oil spill cleanup and decontamination operations. Central to cleaning of complex materials like petroleum, biological fluids, and food waste is the phenomenon of detergency: the physicochemical process of lifting a fluid off of a solid surface. The theory of detergency was developed decades ago but does not account well for new technologies used today for cleaning. Examples include the use of fluids with complex rheology, like yield stress materials. (in collaboration with UC Santa Barbara).

Project objectives

  • Study the behaviour of these fluids using controlled detergency systems and determine where classical theory is applicable and where it fails.
  • Compare particle-based (rather than surfactant-based) cleaners with conventional products
  • Evaluate safety of the use of such methods on critical cleanups, like protective clothing coated with pathogens