TIFR Hyderabad comes up with low-cost rechargeable N95 mask

The mask is reusable multiple times after standard decontamination procedures without losing its efficiency, according to a press release from TIFR Hyderabad on Thursday

By   |  Published: 24th Sep 2020  7:13 pm
Representation Image

Hyderabad: And now, here’s a face mask from Hyderabad that you can recharge and reuse multiple times.

The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) Hyderabad researchers have developed a low-cost rechargeable N95 mask. They have achieved this by modifying one of the layers of the standard N95 mask with the use of a graphene oxide-based paint. The mask is reusable multiple times after standard decontamination procedures without losing its efficiency, according to a press release from TIFR Hyderabad on Thursday.

The recharging, the TIFR researchers said, can be attained even with small mechanical motions such as jaw movements. This ensures the prolonged efficacy of the mask while in use and also easy reusability after cleaning.

The Institute said the N95 masks capture and filter out particles (size ~0.3 microns) with 95 per cent efficiency. While the fibres of the mask pose as a mechanical barrier, an electrostatic charge on the surface of the mask traps particles. With usage, the electrostatic charge on the N95 masks erodes away, thus, decreasing the filtering efficiency of the mask. It was to address this bottleneck that the researchers of TIFR Hyderabad developed the low-cost rechargeable N95 mask, it said.

The research led by Dr. G. Rajalakshmi and Prof. T. N. Narayanan along with graduate students Stelbin Peter Figerez and Sudeshna Patrastate states that such a simple modification in existing mask designs enabling their rechargeability via external mechanical disturbances will be highly beneficial in the modern era of indispensable personal protective equipment.

The TIFR said the researchers have also built a simple device for testing the quality of mask materials. The device, developed in-house, uses low cost, easily available sensors in the Indian market. It measures the transmission of aerosols and particles of size down to 0.3 microns through the mask material, it said, adding that presently, the team with the support of engineer Aathif Ahmed was working towards developing a user-friendly, standard mask testing device.


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