cotton candy

Mahesh Bandi, a physicist with the Non-equilibrium & Nonlinear Physics Unit, OIST Graduate University, Onna, Okinawa, has figured out — a way to produce N95-type respirator filters that — is more affordable & quicker than conventional methods.

In his paper published in Proceedings of the — Royal Society A, he describes the procedure he created and how well his filters performed.

As the pandemic has worn on, researchers have found that mask-wearing can lessen the spread of COVID-19. Sadly, cloth masks are far from foolproof. Research has indicated that to prevent infection, individuals need to wear an N95 respirator—a face mask that has electrocharged filters that attract and hold infections, keeping them from passing through. Such respirators are costly, hard to manufacture, and are in short supply.

In this new effort, Bandi has figured out how to make a filter as effective as those utilized in N95 respirators however that can be created cheaply and quickly.

The method includes heating ordinary plastics, for example, containers or shopping bags, and afterward placing them into an ordinary cotton candy machine (otherwise called a candy floss machine).

The machine turns the plastic into a material that is like cotton candy (a mesh), which is also electrocharged by the turning. Bandi then cuts the subsequent material into little squares and then bolsters their electrostatic charge by placing them near the vent of a typical air ionizer.

Bandi tested his filters by setting a few insides of surgical masks. He found the filters functioned very well, however, the masks were not a reasonable alternative. He at that point planned his own mask to allow easy insertion and removal of the filters (each mask requires three) and utilized a 3-D printer to produce the outcome.

Thorough testing (which included microscopic inspections and comparisons with N95 filters) demonstrated the filters to be as effective at preventing inhalation of SARS-CoV-2 viruses as standard N95-type respirators.

Bandi doesn’t say if he has plans to set up manufacturing centers for the masks—it appears he is simply publishing the idea as an approach to allow others to do so.

Reference: M. M. Bandi. Electrocharged facepiece respirator fabrics using common materials, Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences (2020).