Nanofiber Face Mask that Beats the Coronavirus
What is Coronavirus?
According to World Health Organization, the Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans. The virus today is proving deadly to some people. The World Health Organization is also proclaiming “an international public health emergency” about the virus, it became clear that the problem has reached serious dimensions and protective measures have to be taken.
Can Face Masks Protect From the Virus?
For the time being, the public health organizations of all countries have been systematically organized to protect their citizens against virus threats. However, experts inform the public that every individual should take various measures to protect himself. These measures include the use of masks as personal protective equipment in areas at risk of virus exposure.
There are currently no specially developed masks to protect against viruses, but existing masks are dust masks that are used for worker safety purposes and provide protective effects on airborne particles known to everyone as N95 masks. The N95 is one of the most common face mask filter standards published by NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health). The equivalent of this in European countries is EN149 standard; Although the N95 performance class masks do not have the exact equivalent in this standard, they are somewhere between FFP2 and FFP3. At the same time, surgical masks used in hospitals, surgical operations are a completely different product class than N95 and equivalent respirator-type masks, protecting the operating environment from contamination by blocking the particulate saliva or respiratory secretions that will spread to the environment by the wearer. However, the surgical masks also protect the wearer to a certain extent from aerosols or bioaerosols in the air.
Experts advocate that surgical masks cannot sufficiently protect against viruses, and it will be more efficient to choose masks known as N95. Although N95 masks have high filtration efficiency, they are thicker than surgery masks and rather uncomfortable for long-term use in daily life. These masks make breathing difficult during use, and users experience serious problems due to the increase in temperature and humidity between the face and the mask tissue.
Nanofiber Masks: New Generation of Face Masks?
When all these experiences are evaluated, it becomes necessary to develop a face mask that will provide the necessary protection against viral risks and which is comfortable enough for daily use. At this point, the application of nanofiber technology, which offers unique solutions in many different application areas including filtration, comes to mind as a solution based on solid scientific data.
Nanofibers can tremendously improve the performance of filter media’s ability to remove particulates from air streams. Nanofibers could be the key elements for filter materials in face masks or respirators. They have a very high surface area per unit mass that enhances capture efficiency and other surface area-dependent phenomena that may be engineered into the fiber surfaces (such as catalysis or ion exchange).
About Our Technology
In 2017, our project titled “Development of Improved Nanofiber Based Facial Mask with Functional Nano Particle” was supported by TÜBİTAK. During the project, mask production trials were carried out with many different materials and the samples providing the highest performance were converted into products. All these studies were carried out by electrospinning devices manufactured by our company.
Electrospinning technology is the most efficient method for commercial production of nanofibers and İnovenso is one of the leading companies operating in this field. Established in 2010 with the support of the Ministry of Industry, our machines are today in more than thirty countries. Export rates are around 90% of total sales. Today we are operating in the Istanbul Office within Yıldız Technopark, the America Office in Boston and the South Korea Office in Incheon.