We all are familiar with the Corona virus and disease (COVID-19) caused due to this virus which is highly spreadable. When people with COVID-19 breathe out or cough, they expel tiny droplets that contain the virus. These droplets can enter the mouth or nose of someone, causing an infection to occur. The disease is most contagious when a person’s symptoms are at their peak. As day by day number of patient is increasing even number of death is also increasing. Hence our major concern is to have a good quality personnel protective equipment including Mask apron etc. so that we can control the transmission. Now a days Mask available in the market is permeable, not anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, as it is usually claimed as per the N95 specification. Even we have tested market available N95 Mask where we didn’t find any disinfectant inside it which can prevent from bacteria, virus, and fungi.
What it does
We have developed a unique reusable facemask with next generation technologies which in turn enable those facemasks to develop anti-bacterial as well as much awaited anti-viral properties. We have performed designed and targeted Nano-manipulation on the middle layer of normal 3 ply mask-the meltblown cotton fabric contains the quantum dots which are extremely effective against the deadly viruses.
How we built it
We have developed a unique reusable facemask with next generation technologies which in turn enable those facemasks to develop anti-bacterial as well as much awaited anti-viral properties. In fact, we have employed the regular 3-ply ‘Spunbond Non-woven’ - ‘Thickened Meltblown’ - ‘Spunbond Non-woven’ setup and we have performed designed and targeted Nano-manipulation on the middle layer i.e. the meltblown cotton fabric contains the quantum dots which are already proven to be extremely effective against the deadly HIV, NIPAH, influenza, polioviruses etc. However, to prevent those highly reactive QDs to enter the respiratory system through inhalation, we have employed a novel strategy of quantum confinement of those QDs inside a skin friendly metal-oxide nanoparticles and therefore the bactericidal and virucidal QDs are embedded into some suitable troughs. This Nano-engineered heterojunction is attached with the melt-blown fabric with the help of a polymer matrix/ coatings which is in fact super-hydrophobic in nature. This super hydrophobicity is an absolute key for our success to develop the high class (equivalent of N95 or higher) of mask using simple meltblown fabric. The superhydrophobic nature of the polymer layer embedded with Nanoconfined QDs acts as a highly bio-repellent “Firewall” to prevent the attachment of any sort of viral and bacterial RNA/DNA to its surface. If by any chance, any unknown virus/ bacteria can manage to attach to this protective shield, it will need to face the extremely bactericidal and virucidal QDs which are homogeneously distributed over the whole fabric via. Nano-confining oxidic particles. These ‘Stable Metal Quantum Dots’ are in fact very strongly attached with the polymer matrix through stronger coordinate type chemical bonding and henceforth, constitutes an extremely effective viral and bacterial filtration system without disturbing the airflow for inhalation purpose. Nevertheless, all these facile and “easy-to-perform” Nano-manipulations are performed with very cheap earth abundant metal or metal-oxides which limits the unit cost of those masks within the very reach of common people of India (Only Rs. 50/- for unit mask of N95 or even higher quality). The polymer matrix is cheap and biodegradable in longer span of time which invariably secures the green nature of the mask in every environmental conditions. The sterility of the complete mask is ensured by the application of greener organic solvents during Nano-fabrication whereas the sterility can even be restored in user home as well through simple steam sterilization even upon multiple use for a week, at the least. The self-healing nature of the polymer even rectifies any patches in its security shield over steam sterilization by the end user without compromising any of its security features.
Challenges we ran into
We need the Govt. authorized laboratory test reports for the filtration efficiency testing, anti-bacterial testing and anti-viral testing which seems to be very difficult due to Nationwide emergency and complete lockdown.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
This Nanoconfined QDs is attached with the melt-blown fabric with the help of a polymer matrix/ coatings which is in fact super-hydrophobic in nature to develop N95 or higher equivalent. The superhydrophobic nature of the polymer acts as a highly bio-repellent “Firewall” to prevent the attachment of any sort of viral and bacterial RNA/DNA to its surface. The self-healing nature of the polymer even rectifies any patches in its security shield over steam sterilization by the end-user without compromising any of its security features.
What we learned
A lot of new exercises we learned in this context. We learned about textiles, Nano-confinement and hydrophobic polymers and their fantastic applications.
What's next for Cost-effective Reusable Antiviral Mask: QDs for Self-Healing
Once we get the test results for the for the filtration efficiency testing, anti-bacterial testing and anti-viral testing from Govt. authorized laboratory, we will approach to the Indian Counsel of Medical Research, New Delhi for Clinical Certification. One Certified, our technology and prototype is ready to be deployed for pilot scale production.
Try It out
antibacterial, antiviral, mask, nanotechnology, reusable, simple, superhydrophibic