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Science: New mask material can remove virus-size nanoparticles

Science: New mask material can remove virus-size nanoparticles

The researchers from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) have invented a new type of fabric, which is able to remove even the virus-size nanoparticles. Under COVID-19 outbreak, the masks made from the new fabric become really helpful, reports.

While COVID-19 infection requires more innovations to protect our lungs from the virus particles, the scientists are ready to offer many interesting innovations, being adapt their research to find solutions.

The correct face mask is able to protect the environment from the pathogen particles. According to QUT process engineer Dr Thomas Rainey, his team invented a nanoparticle-removing new fabric they were developing for biodegradable anti-pollution masks.

“We have developed and tested a highly breathable nanocellulose material that can remove particles smaller than 100 nanometers, the size of viruses,” Dr Rainey said.

The Australian researcher stresses that many people wearing masks which are not tested for viruses. In the laboratory, the researchers have tested newly-invented material thoroughly. The engineers have found it to be more efficient in its ability to remove virus-size nanoparticles than the high-quality commercially available masks they tested and compared it with.

What about breathability? The higher the breathability the greater the comfort and reduction in fatigue, fortunately, new material is more breathable than commercial face masks, including surgical masks.

“This new material has excellent breathability, and greater ability to remove the smallest particles,” the author says.

New material is comfortable and biodegradable

Dr Rainey adds that material could be used as a disposable filter cartridge in face masks. This fabric would be relatively inexpensive to produce and would, therefore, be suitable for single-use.

In fact, the cellulose nanofiber component is made from waste plant material such as sugar cane bagasse and other agricultural waste products and is, therefore, biodegradable. Another important aspect the material can be made using relatively simple equipment, and so firms can quickly produce large quantities of the material.

“We have established proof of concept as a nanoparticulate filtration material and we are currently seeking industry partners,” Dr Rainey said.