Langmuir, Vol.32, No.43, 11203-11211, 2016
Cleaning with Bulk Nanobubbles
The electrolysis of aqueous solutions produces solutions that are supersaturated in oxygen and hydrogen gas. This results in the formation of gas bubbles, including nanobubbles similar to 100 nm in size that are stable for similar to 24 h. These aqueous solutions containing bubbles have been evaluated for cleaning efficacy in the removal of model contaminants bovine serum albumin and lysozyme from surfaces and in the prevention of the fouling of surfaces by these same proteins. Hydrophilic and hydrophobic surfaces were investigated. It is shown that nanobubbles can prevent the fouling of surfaces and that they can also clean already fouled surfaces. It is also argued that in practical applications where cleaning is carried out rapidly using a high degree of mechanical agitation the role of cleaning agents is not primarily in assisting the removal of soil but in suspending the soil that is removed by mechanical action and preventing it from redepositing onto surfaces. This may also be the primary mode of action of nanobubbles during cleaning.