COVID-19: Development of High-Efficiency Sub-micrometer Particulate Air Filtration Material using Aligned Electrospun Nanofibers

Czekanski, Aleksander | $75,000

Ontario York University 2020 NSERC Alliance COVID-19 Grant

The recent pandemic of COVID‑19 has made, so far, an unprecedented impact on human well being in terms of number of infected cases, mortality rate, societal impact and the economic and financial implications worldwide. As vaccine development and testing can can take an average of 1-2 years, containment is required, especially given repeated outbreaks of this virus are possible. Masks are an important element for the containment of this COVID‑19 virus, especially for the those working on the frontlines in health care and other essential services.

One of the main characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 is its sub-micron size. This drastically limits the number of available materials that can be used for effective filtration. Available effective filtration materials such as N95 masks greatly reduce air flow through masks which has potential health implications when worn for long durations.

The goal of this collaborative research and partnership project is to develop a new filtration material, using Aligned Electrospun Nanofibers that can effectively filter sub-micron particle sizes such as COVID‑19 and improve air flow capability. Layers of spun nanofibers with different orientation, size, gap and material will be studied in relation to filtration efficiency and pressure drop.

This research work will reduce the health risk imposed on individuals wearing masks for extended durations. This will put Canada in the leading role in manufacturing such reliable and practical masks and most importantly to have a national industry that can support Canada’s needs during pandemic times and supply globally. This is inline with the pandemic emergency plan that Canadian government and manufacturing sectors took during this COVID‑19 pandemic to ensure “we do all we can to help contain the novel coronavirus”.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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