“Virus-Killing” Air Filtration System Unveiled – Innovative Nanomaterial Destroys Viruses, Including Coronaviruses

Credit score: College of Cambridge

A brand new carbon-based air filtration nanomaterial able to capturing and destroying varied viruses, together with animal coronavirus, an in depth relative of SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – has been developed by Cambridge scientists and engineers. 

The prototype, labored on and examined by a multidisciplinary crew of researchers from the Boies Group, within the Division of Engineering, and with colleagues from the Division of Supplies Science & Metallurgy and Division of Pathology, is provided with ultra-thin carbon nanotube electrically conductive membranes. This new conductive filtration membrane permits simultaneous virus filtration and sanitization by thermal flashes through resistive heating to temperatures above 100°C, deactivating viruses, together with betacoronavirus, in seconds. 

The researchers say the multifunctional filter is very helpful at combating the viral unfold of airborne ailments in confined environments comparable to emergency autos, hospitals, leisure, and training facilities, whether or not it’s used as a standalone unit or along side heating, air flow, and air-con (HVAC) filtration techniques. The outcomes, together with findings taken throughout virus infectivity trials backed by theoretical modeling, are reported within the journal Carbon.

The filter represents a brand new class of conductive filtration mediums enabling electrical performance with the aptitude to be mass-produced, and possessing filtration effectivity and air permeability that matches that of business HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters. It successfully captures respiratory liquid droplets – a provider of many viruses, together with coronaviruses – which can be produced by means of coughing, talking and respiratory and which stay suspended within the air for hours, migrating over tens of meters in confined environments. It’s these respiratory particles that contribute to excessive an infection charges in enclosed and crowded areas. 

Produced by a novel course of invented on the College, the modern carbon nanotube materials can be the pillar of the ANAM Initiative, funded by the EPSRC, which seeks to unlock the business potential supplied by carbon nanotubes. 

PhD pupil Liron Issman mentioned: “Based mostly on the information acquired by this undertaking (the results of an Innovate UK-funded grant), a number of working prototypes have been developed exhibiting the power of the filter to realize air purification of 99% of a small room or an ambulance inside 10-20 minutes. A number of industrial collaboration tasks have been initiated with world-leading air filtration firms to introduce this carbon nanotube materials into state-of-the-art functions to assist fight COVID-19 and different airborne-based pathogens.

“To satisfy the market calls for, our distinctive course of is being scaled commercially by Q-Flo Restricted, a College of Cambridge spin-out, to initially produce over 100,000 m2/yr of membrane materials. The advantages of those conductive filtration supplies are that they supply low move resistance with excessive seize effectivity and capabilities for extra heating and sensing.”

Reference: “Filtration of viral aerosols through a hybrid carbon nanotube lively filter” by Liron Issman, Brian Graves, Jeronimo Terrones, Myra Hosmillo, Rulan Qiao, Michael Glerum, Shuki Yeshurun, Martin Choose, Ian Goodfellow, James Elliott and Adam Boies, 6 July 2021, Carbon.
DOI: 10.1016/j.carbon.2021.07.004

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