IIT Mandi researchers claim to have designed a specific technology for making highly efficient masks with the help of waste plastic bottles. The researchers claim that these masks will be more breathable when compared to masks that are available commercially. These masks can be washed as well as reused for up to 30 times.
The research team cut the waste plastic bottles into pieces; dissolved them with the help of a solvent combination and extracted nanofibres out of the solution. Sumit Sinha Ray, the Assistant Professor at IIT Mandi, mentioned that the research team used waste plastic bottles for developing a thin nano-nonwoven membrane layer. This layer renders efficient particle filtration, which is at par with a medical mask and an N95 respirator.
The Assistant Professor also mentioned that the nanofibres comply with the user’s safety requirements by barring infectious components and even the bacteria. The breathability factor is better in the developed masks in comparison to the commercially available masks. The mask’s material cost was about Rs 25 per mask at a laboratory scale; however, during the commercial stage of manufacturing the price will reduce almost to half of Rs 25 per piece.
Sumit Sinha Ray further explained that nanofibres are capable of doing wonders when it comes to masks. For efficient masks, breathability, as well as the airborne pollutant and particulate removal efficiency, are the two essential criteria. Masks which are made based on nanofibres are capable of filtering out minute particles efficiently, plus it also allows the person who is wearing the mask to breathe comfortably.
The research team also claimed that the masks would not need any separate protocol to be adhered to concerning the disposal of the mask. The standard hygiene measures have to be followed to dispose of the mask.
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