Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Mandi have developed an anti-bacterial, self-cleaning, virus filtering material for making masks and PPE material, which are the need of the current times. Reports suggest that the team claims that developed nanomaterial cleans the mask on exposure to sunlight, and can be used again.
“Keeping the urgency of the pandemic situation and cost-effectiveness in mind, we have developed a strategy to repurpose existing PPEs, especially face masks, by providing an antimicrobial coating to these protective clothing and textiles. For this, the research team has used such materials that are a hundred thousand times smaller than the width of the human hair to confer antimicrobial properties to polycotton fabric," Amit Jaiswal, Assistant Professor, School of Basic Sciences, IIT Mandi, told PTI.
The IIT Mandi team
“The ''nanoknife''-modified fabrics demonstrated excellent antibacterial activity even after 60 cycles of washing. Improperly disposed off PPEs are a serious secondary source of transmission, and having reusable antimicrobial masks can help circumvent this risk. The reusability of the fabric will also enable it to be integrated with homemade masks,” Jaiswal adds.
The researchers also state that the masks can also filter more than 96 per cent of particles that are in the size range of the COVID virus (120 nanometres), without compromising on breathability of the fabric.
A graphic explaining the workings of the mask. Photo credit: Twitter/IITM
"We expect that the impact of this innovation on society will be immense and immediate, considering the current situation of global COVID-19 pandemic. The proposed materials can also be used to fabricate screens and sheets for creation of makeshift isolation wards, containment cells and quarantines for holding individuals who come in contact with pathogens," Jaiswal told PTI in conclusion.