IIT Mandi researchers have produced a remarkable self-cleaning material that can be used to make a variety of PPE, including self-cleaning masks.
The existence of an exceptional new type of mask has been made possible thanks to the efforts of researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Mandi (IIT Mandi). A team at the institute has come up with an efficient self-cleaning, antibacterial, and virus-filtering material that can be incorporated into the making of reusable face masks as well as a number of other PPE paraphernalia.
Masks that have already been made with this material effectively kill microbes and are capable of self-cleaning with the help of solar light alone–but it doesn’t stop there. They are also known to filter over 96% of particulate matter that falls within the COVID virus’ size range of 120 nanometers. It achieves all this without taking away from the fabric’s breathability.
With such positive and practical qualities, a study published in the Applied Materials and Interfaces journal supports the belief that this development could be significantly used as a means of combating several microbial infections as well as the further spread of the Coronavirus.
The MoS2 Fabric
“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/textiles,” Explained Dr. Amit Jaiswal, lead researcher and Assistant Professor for the varsity’s School of Basic Sciences.
This convincing new mask material is called molybdenum sulfide (MoS2) modified fabric. To create the 4-layered prototypes of these modified masks, the team utilized a material thinner than a single strand of human hair by a hundred-thousand times in order to enmesh antimicrobial properties into polycotton fabric. They then included MoS2 sheets–also referred to as ananoknife-modified fabrics–the size of nanometers into its corners and edges; they kill viral and bacterial membranes by piercing them.
Multipurpose and reusable
Dr. Jaiswal said that the modified ananoknife fabric’s antibacterial activity proved lasting excellence, persevering even after 60 washing cycles. Because of this, masks made with it are a perfect reusable option which will help consumers cut down on their biological waste generation. Furthermore, MoS2 absorbs solar light when exposed to it, due to photothermal properties which allow for conversion of solar light into heat that, in turn, gets rid of harmful microbes.
“Within 5 minutes of solar irradiation, all the MoS2-modified fabrics showed 100 percent killing of both Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus,” reported the research study’s members. In other words, owners of MoS2 masks can simply hang the products out for bright sunlight exposure for only a fleeting few minutes every time they need them clean and ready to be worn again.
In addition to self-cleaning masks, MoS2 material is also ideal for fabricating sheets and screens in makeshift isolation wards, quarantine holding areas, and containment cells for individuals who have come into contact with any threatening pathogens.
The development of self-cleaning masks and material is indeed a highly encouraging feat to be grateful for. The world can only hope that MoS2 fabrics soon become more widespread and readily available as communities across the globe continue to brave the battle against COVID. Until the MoS2 and more inventions like it become accessible in more localities, it is best to make use of what products already are, such as this 3 Color Facial-Mask and this PurLite UV-C Sanitizer Box.