September 26, 2023

Researchers at Metropolis College of Hong Kong have developed an electrostatically charged face masks that may replenish its cost by the wearer’s respiration motion. The electrostatic cost helps the masks to adsorb tiny particles, resembling SARS-CoV-2 viruses. Nevertheless, such masks sometimes lose their cost and skill to bind particles over time, notably in humid environments resembling proper in entrance of the mouth. To deal with this, these researchers have created a masks with two triboelectric nylon material layers that replenish the cost because the layers transfer forwards and backwards throughout respiration. The masks can present safety in opposition to airborne viruses for for much longer than typical masks, enhancing the security of healthcare employees and decreasing waste.

The common-or-garden face masks has been a key part in our battle in opposition to COVID-19. For many of us, face masks had been a gentle inconvenience once we went to the shop, mid-pandemic, in an effort to scale back viral transmission locally. Nevertheless, for healthcare employees 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 entails 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. Nevertheless, this electrostatic cost is depleted over time, notably in humid circumstances, that are troublesome to keep away from in one thing you breath by. Which means the masks will not be offering optimum safety for his or her total period of damage and likewise that masks should be exchanged continuously, creating waste.  

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

The expertise depends on triboelectric nylon material 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 because of their massive distinction in electron affinity, ensuing within the PVDF layer being negatively charged and the nylon layers positively charged,” mentioned Zhengbao. “This self-charging course of permits the continual replenishment of the electrostatic expenses and extended electrostatic adsorption.”

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

By way of: City University of Hong Kong