Stay one step ahead of the monster mould

 作者:祭躞     |      日期:2019-03-08 01:04:00
By Catherine Zandonella MOULD growing on damp walls is a threat to both the fabric of a building and the health of its occupants. Now researchers in Scotland hope they can banish the blight with a computer model that predicts where mould is likely to grow while the building is still on the drawing board. Mould spores in the air can trigger allergies and induce asthma attacks, and some moulds are themselves toxic. Moulds of the genus Penicillium contain mycotoxins which damage human lung cells, say the researchers. Dousing affected areas with fungicide may provide a temporary solution, but the mould usually returns as it is nearly impossible to kill every spore. The only permanent solution is to eliminate the moisture that mould needs to thrive. To construct their model, Joe Clarke and a team of engineers at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow undertook an extensive review of the literature to determine the growth needs of six kinds of mould, and calculated the minimum levels of humidity and temperature needed for each type to survive, they report in Building and Environment (vol 34, p 515). Using this information, the computer program can decide which design factors—such as insulation, ventilation and building materials— need to be adjusted to keep the humidity and temperature low enough to prevent mould from growing. The model can be used for treating existing buildings as well as for designing new ones. The team’s next project is to look for ways to destroy mould by running affected areas through a cycle of moisture deprivation—for example by shining an infrared lamp on the mould each day. Clarke’s model could be very useful in Scotland, says Jennifer Waterton, research manager for the National Housing Agency for Scotland. According to a 1996 survey, nearly a quarter of all Scottish dwellings suffer from damp. Laura Kolb, a scientist at the US Environmental Protection Agency,