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Helmet Ioniser - Crap?

Discussion in 'Riding Gear and Bike Accessories/Parts' started by graeme72, May 2, 2016.

  1. I think I know the answer already but was just wondering if anyone has actually ever tried one of these?

    I can't find any real evidence that they work, just lots of people saying "yeh, the air FEELS better". That combined with the fact they aren't really big sellers as far as I can tell, says to me their a bit shonky. But keen to hear if someone thinks they're worth it.

  2. In general, ionisers (negative ion generators) do indeed work but typically only in free air. The way they work is that they apply a negative static charge to the local air. This causes particulates (dust, pollen etc) to be attracted to each other like a Ducati rider to a cafe. They stick together and eventually become heavy enough (due to clumping) to fall to the ground where they can be vacuumed up. I use a few in the house, the ports are sat over paper towel and the paper goes quite grey/black within a week.

    How would this work for a helmet? I suggest that if that thing has a fan it it, the fresh air circulation would do more than the negative ions.
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  3. If it could negate the smell from sneezing inside a helmet they'd sell millions. Even if they were flouro pink.
  4. From Sharp's website.
    You're right, you do know the answer but perhaps not for the right reason.

    Firstly this process is similar to but also different from electrostatic precipitation. The brochure looks pretty, lots of colourful graphics but the language used is not scientifically accurate and is in places contradictory. There are no hydrogen molecules on the surface of the protein for example. There are hydrogen atoms that are part of the protein molecules though. Any scientifically literate person knows the difference between an atom and a molecule, but not apparently the marketing gurus at sharp. We'll forgive them that though as they only did an arts degree and there are plenty of cases of marketers making pretty brochures that aren't scientifically accurate and they get away with it because most of the punters don't know any different.

    What they're describing here is the production of highly reactive hydroxyl radicals that then kill bacteria and pathogens by ripping them apart by oxidation. Presumably these come from the electrolytic splitting of water vapour. (In which case it ain't going to do much if you live in an air conditioned house that is dryer than a nun's nasty). Incidentally there will inevitably be some ozone production too, which is also highly reactive and highly toxic to both bugs and humans.

    There is some science to say that this type of device does work to kill airborne pathogens and they have been used for that purpose in hospitals in the UK. BUT there are no relevant standards relating to the technology, so you're taking the manufacturers word for whether their particular model actually does anything at all.

    The biggest issue for me though is that if they're producing enough radicals to sanitise the helmet, they're also producing enough radicals to seriously degrade the structural integrity of the helmet. Radicals are highly reactive, powerful oxidizing agents and they're not fussy. They will react with anything they come into contact with and the nice people at Sharp want you to put this inside your helmet and run it for 8 hours at a time. What is that doing to the liner, the webbing strap, the polystyrene inner or the outer shell ? I wouldn't use this any more than I would soak my $500 helmet in bleach or peroxide. If you have a removable liner, fine take it out and wash it; you can add a drop of bleach to the water if you really want and if you don't mind it fading and eventually falling apart; but treat the whole helmet ? That is a serious case of genuine, bonafide, incontrovertible stoopid. They didn't think that through very well and they certainly never asked a helmet manufacturer whether it was a good idea.
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  5. Thanks fatbastard, that's probably the best reason I've heard to not use them.
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  6. My pleasure graeme.