The development of self-disinfecting N95 masks:
With the development of self-disinfecting technologies for N95 masks, a local start-up is moving ahead, which could be a game-changer in the battle against Covid-19.
With the global pandemic and increasingly positive cases in the world, the go-to security outfit for those venturing out of their homes has become face masks, face shields and gloves. The regular basic gear might not be as productive as the latest in health and hygiene technology, with safety as the utmost concern of all.
Including simple blue surgical masks and more expensive N95 filtered masks, most facemasks worn to protect against Covid-19 infection are disposable.
A technology start-up specializing in antimicrobial coatings for porous materials, Advanced and Innovative Multifunctional Materials LLC (AIMM) is at the forefront of the Covid-19 pandemic by creating self-disinfecting technology for N95 respirator masks.
Here's how the technology works: The start-up produces high-tech personal protective equipment (PPE) fabrics and advanced filtration. These new carbon-based materials enable self-sterilizing N95 masks, eliminating the need for reuse of contaminated masks by medical professionals or continuously disposing of used masks.
This technology, particularly with the national PPE shortage, stands as a groundbreaking development in the fight against Covid-19.
AIMM founder and scientist Dr. Luis Estevez said, "Nationally, we are still not stocked up to where we need to be to battle Covid-19." We are trying to push this technology forward as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Luis Estevez is the scientist behind the latest self-disinfecting 95 mask technology developed by AIMM, a Dayton-based startup.
This business venture is led by Estevez and is in collaboration with the University of Dayton Research Institute. Estevez received his degree in mechanical engineering and eventually a Ph.D. from Cornell University in 2013 after spending his twenties helping to operate his family's restaurant business. To further pursue his technology at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, he then received a three-year, $1 million fellowship from the Department of Energy.
AIMM has developed a similar method to produce materials that can be embedded with microbe-killing Nano-materials in addition to these recent advances with PPE. This technology has the ability, only driven by gravity, to transform water with harmful pathogens into safe drinking water. By introducing this technology to developing countries that do not have comprehensive access to clean drinking water, Estevez aims to extend this focus.
As for the self-disinfecting N95 mask technology, moving it out for testing and to national partners is gaining traction. This past spring, the community won the virtual pitch competition for the Launch Dayton Early Riser Academy, bringing home $1,000 to fund this effort.
Estevez expects that the prototype of the technology will be finalized in the next six months, planning for products in hospitals and other medical facilities to hit the frontlines by spring next year. Although official partnerships have not been completed, Estevez is looking at the U.S. As future allies, the Department of Defense and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will drive this technology forward.
"The general idea is to develop, start recruiting more people to work for AIMM, and introduce new innovations and employment to Dayton," he said. "With our product, we have the ability to change the way things are done in hospitals."
The N95 mask is a respiratory protection gadget designed to provide extremely near facial fit and highly efficient air pollutant particle filtration. Bear in mind that the N95 mask's edges are intended to make the nose and mouth a safe seal. N95 Respirators are typically used in environments for emergency services and are a subset of N95 Facepiece Filtering Respirators.
During this pandemic, the specifications that are related to only professional locations become a common content. So, not all masks are the same for viruses, bacteria, flu, and smoke filtration.
Self-disinfecting can make your N95 reusable:
A technology that can effectively "recharge" a disposable mask so it can be used again and again has now been created by Prof. Yair Ein-Eli, Dean of the Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technion.
The concept comes from the battery technology experience of Ein-Eli. He thought of adding a heating element made of carbon fibers into the mask that would kill any viruses or bacteria that had accumulated when heated to 65 to 70 degrees Celsius.
Putting a battery inside the mask would make wearing it heavy and uncomfortable. The patent-pending invention of Ein-Eli instead attaches the carbon fibers to any low-current USB cable or phone adapter. It is not appropriate to make any other improvements.
supposed to take less than 30 minutes to disinfect. The timing is correct: A Washington Post poll found that two-thirds of health workers said there is still a shortage of facemasks, such as the N95, that filter out most airborne particles.
In addition, if the coronavirus continues to surge or return in the second wave, 3.5 billion masks will be needed by US healthcare workers, which is 100 times more than the number of readily available masks.
While cotton masks could conceivably be cleaned using Ein-Eli 's technology, now becoming fashionable for the general public, they do not effectively filter out coronavirus particles and are not used in hospital environments.
A prototype was built by Ein-Eli 's research group and tested along with Prof. Debbie Lindell and Prof. Oded Beja from Technion's Faculty of Biology. The US patent application was filed on 31 March and Technion states it is "currently negotiating commercialization with industrial firms."