COVID-19 India: IIT Mandi Recycled PET Bottles Into Facemasks
IIT Mandi comes up with a unique technology to develop highly efficient face masks from PET bottles.
The institute claims these masks are more breathable compared to commercially available ones. The masks can be washed and used for at least 30 times before disposal.
IIT Mandi has applied for a patent for electrospinning based filter membrane technology. The team worked on shredding waste PET bottles and dissolving in a combination of solvents to extrude nanofibers.
Further elaborating on the concept, Assistant Prof. Sumit Sinha Roy explained, his team developed a fine singular nano-woven membrane to increase the efficiency of particle filtration similar to N95 masks and respirators.
While using plastic, safety issues concern them most. However, these masks meet all safety standards in removing bacteria and other infectious contaminants.
At the laboratory, the cost was Rs 25 for each mask, whereas at industrial levels, the price will be halved and it can be reused 30 times.
The efficiency of masks can be gauged by its potential to remove airborne particulate matter as well as breathability. These masks do not require any specific protocol for disposal as such.
Commercially available masks are made out of melt-blown fabric with high breathing resistance.
As per IIT Mandi researcher, Ashish Kakoria, ultrafine fibres provide less resistance to airflow for a unique phenomenon called slip flow that improves breathability.
Additionally, this technique uses PET bottles to good use.