COVID-19: antivirus materials and virus-detection device for aircraft cabin

Tan, Bo | $50,000

Ontario Ryerson University 2020 NSERC Alliance COVID-19 Grant

The COVID‑19 pandemic has plunged the global airline industry into an unprecedented crisis. This crisis raises a number of technical challenges, particularly in terms of safeguarding consumer health. Antimicrobial coating and virus monitoring devices provide a solution. The goal of this partnership is to find effective methods to improve hygiene conditions inside aircraft cabins. Two approaches are proposed. First, antimicrobial coatings for hard surfaces as well as textiles will be evaluated. Recent studies show COVID‑19 can remain infectious on surfaces for several hours to days, irrespective of the surface looking dirty or clean. Since sanitizing surfaces during flight service is not feasible, a more practical solution is installing a surface that repels the pathogens, thus eliminating the possibilities of transfer to the human body and subsequent viral spread. Although many antimicrobial coatings are available, none of these have been test for COVID-19. Using animal coronavirus virus, we will assess the antiviral effect of existing coating products and identify the best one to be recommended to be applied to aircraft interiors. The outcome of this assessment will allow for existing aircraft to re-enter service as soon as possible. Secondly, we propose a highly sensitive Raman analyzer for virus inspection inside the aircraft cabin. This handheld device can obtain results in a couple of seconds, enabling frequent in-service inspection so that contamination can be cleaned before it spreads to passengers and crew. These techniques reduce the risk of contamination and disease spread, helps to restore consumer confidence in travel, and thus, supports the aviation industry to recover from the recession caused by COVID-19.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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