Previously we’ve discussed the ultrasonic cleaning process and how AEC Systems ultrasonic cleaners work via cavitation to provide deep and probing cleaning without the use of harsh solvents. In 2015 researchers from the University of Southhampton announced their invention of a device called the StarStream that uses bubbles and ultrasonic cleaning to drastically improve the cleaning power of plain, cold water. It’s a small device that looks much like a hair dryer, but the technological innovation could change the way cleaning is done across industries and even in people’s homes.
Ultrasonic cleaners as they are currently designed work in tandem with heat and detergents or other agents to remove dirt, bacteria, grease, and debris. They are often used when very fine cleaning is required, and dentists and hospitals utilize them to clean probing or surgical devices. The new technology should allow for cleaning to specification with cold water, however. This has the possibility of creating considerable energy and financial savings over the long run, as well as innumerable environmental benefits.
So far the StarStream has proven capable of removing both bacterial biofilms that can cause dental disease and soft tissue from bones – a process necessary for some transplantation surgeries to be successful. Since the StarStream technology allows for the sterilization of surgical instruments without chemicals, it could also be used to establish and maintain entire sterile environments and lessen hospitals reliance on antibiotics and anti-microbial agents. In the future the procedures medical staff have to go through to keep their hands clean could be much simpler.
The ability to effectively and efficiently clean items with tap water has the potential to affect across sectors, including manufacturing, healthcare, and food preparation. The water coming from the StarStream cleans extraordinarily well upon contact, but it also increases the effectiveness of other cleaning products.
Since this new technology is patented by Ultrawave Ltd., it might be awhile before we see it used in other products or cleaning processes. But, if there’s one thing that the enormous strides in technology have taught us in the past one hundred years: no one can stand in the way of progress. If this technology is as effective as its inventors want it to be, the applications of what these researchers have discovered are endless. Imagine cleaning not just without solvents or toxic cleaners, but without detergents altogether and using minimal energy. The kinds of health and environmental disaster we see in news articles about retired factory workers and superfund sites might be a thing of the past.
That would be incredible.