September 27, 2023

Researchers at Metropolis College of Hong Kong have developed an electrostatically charged face masks that may replenish its cost via the wearer’s respiration motion. The electrostatic cost helps the masks to adsorb tiny particles, equivalent to SARS-CoV-2 viruses. Nonetheless, such masks usually lose their cost and talent to bind particles over time, significantly in humid environments equivalent to proper in entrance of the mouth. To handle this, these researchers have created a masks with two triboelectric nylon cloth layers that replenish the cost because the layers transfer backwards and forwards throughout respiration. The masks can present safety in opposition to airborne viruses for for much longer than typical masks, enhancing the protection of healthcare workers and lowering waste.

The standard face masks has been a key element in our battle in opposition to COVID-19. For many of us, face masks had been a gentle inconvenience after we went to the shop, mid-pandemic, in an effort to scale back viral transmission in the neighborhood. Nonetheless, for healthcare workers caring for COVID-19 sufferers, efficient masks are essential for each private and affected person security.

An efficient mechanism that designers can deploy in face masks includes electrostatic adsorption, the place an electrostatic cost helps tiny particles to stay inside the masks, serving to to enhance the mechanical filtration that the masks present. Nonetheless, this electrostatic cost is depleted over time, significantly in humid situations, that are troublesome to keep away from in one thing you breath via. Which means that the masks is probably not offering optimum safety for his or her whole length of wear and tear and in addition that masks should be exchanged regularly, creating waste.  

This newest facemask know-how maintains its safety in opposition to viral particles by producing electrical cost from the motion of the breath. “Though many experiences work on replenishing the cost for long-lasting electrostatic adsorption efficacy, an additional energy supply is mostly wanted, which is cumbersome and inconvenient,” stated Yang Zhengbao, a researcher concerned within the research. “We’ve developed an environment friendly, sturdy, low-cost air filter that may repeatedly replenish the electrostatic cost in a self-charging method.”       

The know-how depends on triboelectric nylon cloth layers that may create an electrical cost when moved. “As the center layer strikes forth and again between the lateral layers with respiration, a cost switch happens between PVDF and nylon as a consequence of their massive distinction in electron affinity, ensuing within the PVDF layer being negatively charged and the nylon layers positively charged,” stated Zhengbao. “This self-charging course of permits the continual replenishment of the electrostatic fees and extended electrostatic adsorption.”

Research in journal Nature Communications: Self-charging electrostatic face masks leveraging triboelectrification for prolonged air filtration

Through: City University of Hong Kong