APR 15, 2021 8:16 AM PDT

New Technique for Creating Nanofibers Could Help Produce Affordable, Effective Mask Filters to Combat COVID-19

WRITTEN BY: Ryan Vingum

Recently, nanofibers have been used to improve the filtration quality of protective face masks and help them filter airborne droplets more effectively, including droplets that can carry and spread the coronavirus. The COVID-19 pandemic, specifically, has increased the need for new nanofiber production technologies to create effective personal protective equipment (PPE). 

However, despite their benefits and a potential increase in their production due to the pandemic, nanofibers are still expensive and time-consuming to make. Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), however, think they’ve found a possible solution.

According to a study published in ACS Macro Letters, a novel technique for developing nanofibers, called “centrifugal multispinning,” may help mass produce nanofibers in a safe, inexpensive way.

Authors of the study say their approach may be an effective alternative to current methods of nanofiber production, such as electrospinning or other types of centrifugal spinning. While approaches such as electrospinning can create effective nanofibers, the use of high-voltage electrical currents has safety risks and is difficult to do on a mass scale. 

While some types of centrifugal spinning have been proposed as an alternative production option in the past, KAIST researchers say most centrifugal spinning approaches only use a single rotating spinneret (a device used to create nanofibers from a material, or polymer), making it only marginally better than electrospinning. 

Centrifugal multispinning, however, may offer both efficiency and safety. According to the study, the centrifugal multispinning approach developed at KAIST does not require electricity, uses three spinnerets (versus one), and has the potential to produce up to 25 grams of nanofiber polymers each hour (nearly 300 times more than electrospinning). The study suggests this increased efficiency could translate to the production of about 30 face masks daily, each with the ability to filter up to 95% of airborne particles. That’s equivalent to masks such as the K86 and K95 masks (approved in Korea) or the N95 mask (approved in the United States).

"When our system is scaled up from the lab-scale to an industrial scale, the large-scale production of centrifugal multi-spun polymer nanofibers will be made possible, and the cost of polymer nanofiber-based face mask filters will also be lowered dramatically," explained Byeong Eun Kwak, PhD candidate and lead author of the study.

With the potential ability to mass-produce nanofibers and create high-quality masks, researchers are offering new hope in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Source: Science Daily 

About the Author
Professional Writing
Science writer and editor, with a focus on simplifying complex information about health, medicine, technology, and clinical drug development for a general audience.
You May Also Like
OCT 18, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Astronomers Have Discovered the Heaviest Element in the Atmosphere of an Exoplanet to Date
OCT 18, 2022
Astronomers Have Discovered the Heaviest Element in the Atmosphere of an Exoplanet to Date
In a new study published in Astronomy & Astrophysics, astronomers have discovered the heaviest element ever found in ...
NOV 11, 2022
Technology
New, Lost-cost Tool for Newborn Hearing Screening
NOV 11, 2022
New, Lost-cost Tool for Newborn Hearing Screening
Newborn hearing screening are important health tests. They help detect any potential hearing problems and allow children ...
NOV 19, 2022
Health & Medicine
Artificial Light Exposure May Increase Diabetes Risk
NOV 19, 2022
Artificial Light Exposure May Increase Diabetes Risk
In the modern world, many people are exposed to artificial light at night. It's even become such a problem that dark sky ...
NOV 22, 2022
Technology
Specialized MRI Shows Post-COVID Brain Changes
NOV 22, 2022
Specialized MRI Shows Post-COVID Brain Changes
Since the start of the pandemic, researchers have learned a lot about the health effects of COVID-19 infection. In parti ...
DEC 01, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
The Impact of AI on Drug Discovery
DEC 01, 2022
The Impact of AI on Drug Discovery
Artificial Intelligence, also known as “AI”, has been the talk of the past year. AI performs and responds to ...
DEC 02, 2022
Space & Astronomy
The First Exoplanet Atmosphere Observed by JWST
DEC 02, 2022
The First Exoplanet Atmosphere Observed by JWST
Unprecedented discoveries regarding exoplanet atmospheres have just been detailed in a series of new papers (links provi ...
Loading Comments...