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Anti-virus air filtration system with nanomaterials

BrotherScientists and engineers at the University of Cambridge have developed new air-filtering nanomaterials that can attract and destroy a variety of viruses, including a close relative of nCoV.

Air purifier design by researchers at Cambridge University.  Photo: Cambridge University

Air purifier design by researchers at Cambridge University. Photo: University of Cambridge

An interdisciplinary team from the Boies Group, University of Cambridge’s Faculty of Engineering, Materials Science and Pathology tested a prototype filter system equipped with an ultra-thin carbon nanotube conductive membrane. This new type of membrane allows for immediate virus filtration and sterilization with thermal flashes through continuous heating to over 100 degrees Celsius, thereby inactivating viruses, including betacoronavirus, within seconds.

The multi-purpose purifier is particularly useful in preventing the spread of airborne disease-causing viruses in confined environments such as ambulances, hospitals, amusement parks, and educational centers, the researchers say. The system can operate as a stand-alone or integrated with heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HAVC) systems. The team published the results of testing with the infectious virus with the theoretical model in the journal Carbon.

According to research, the new filter system can be mass-produced, possessing the same filtration efficiency and ventilation as commercial HEPA (high-efficiency air filters) filters. This design captures respiratory droplets containing many viruses such as corona virus that are spread when coughing, talking or breathing, can stay in the air for many hours and fly tens of meters in a narrow environment. It is respiratory droplets that contribute to the high infection rate in crowded and closed places.

Produced through a unique process invented by the university, the carbon nanotube material has a wide range of commercial application potential. “Based on the knowledge accumulated from the project, some of the prototypes we developed can filter 99% of the air in a small room or ambulance within 10 – 20 minutes. To meet the market demand, they I’m upgrading the process to commercial scale, producing more than 100,000 square meters of membrane material per year,” said Liron Issman, a doctoral student.

An Khang (Follow Sci Tech Daily)

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