Scientists from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have developed a reusable “nano-tech mask” that filters out 99.9% of bacteria, viruses and particulate matter while also killing bacteria.

The effectiveness of the so-called nano-tech mask is due to an antimicrobial coating composed of copper nanoparticles and a composite fiber featuring integrated dielectric materials with electrostatic capabilities that attract and bind to particles.

According to the developers of the mask, the coating can kill bacteria in just 45 seconds, is effective for six days and can be reused and rewashed up to 10 times.

Source: NTUSource: NTU

Meanwhile, the dielectric composite mask attracts and binds to a host of particles like a magnet, demonstrating an estimated 50% higher filtration efficiency than standard masks.

During testing, the mask attracted and captured a range of particulate matter (PM) from PM10 (10 microns) to PM0.3 (0.3 microns) with a reported filtration efficiency of 99.9%, according to the NTU team.

"In experiments, our copper nanoparticle coating has an extremely fast and sustained antibacterial activity, with a killing efficiency of up to 99.9% when it meets multi-drug resistant bacteria. This coating will help to reduce the spread of bacteria as it kills microbes in droplets trapped by the mask fibers, which provide excellent filtration efficiency. This should give users a double layer of protection compared to conventional surgical masks," explained NTU Professor Lam Yeng Ming.

The technology used to create the nano-tech mask is detailed in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

To contact the author of this article, email mdonlon@globalspec.com