03.12.2020 change 03.12.2020

Environmentally-friendly masks that ‘destroy’ viruses being developed at Łódż University of Technology

Credit: Fotolia Credit: Fotolia

Biodegradable masks with anti-viral filters that can destroy viruses are being developed by scientists at the Łódż University of Technology.

The new masks will still have the same barrier properties as the currently used disposable masks for protection against aerosols, but will also have a multi-layer structure with chemical compounds that will destroy viruses that stick to them.

Containing a filter made by blowing a molten polymer, scientists can obtain a suitable filter insert with a fibre thickness of a few microns. Depending on the mask class, it stops up to 95 percent pollutants and pathogens.

In addition, after six weeks of composting, the Łódż mask’s polylactide decomposes into environmentally acceptable chemicals, which means that it simply disappears.

According to Dr. Zbigniew Draczyński from the Institute of Materials Science of Textiles and Polymer Composites, Lodz University of Technology, the remaining functional and filtration properties of the new masks will be identical to the currently used disposable masks.

The new polymer is twice as expensive, but in the production of masks, the raw material cost is only a small percentage of the cost of the entire product. Therefore, according to scientists, the price difference of the final product will be minor.

The masks are being developed by the Lodz University of Technology in cooperation with partners: the Central Institute for Labour Protection and the Institute of Biopolymers and Chemical Fibres as part of the Biogratex project led by Professor Izabella Krucińska.

PAP - Science in Poland, Karolina Duszczyk

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