As a global shortage of face masks hits due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a research breakthrough has developed a new, environmentally-friendly material which can keep out virus-sized nano-particles.
The completely biodegradable material is also significantly easier to breathe through than other commercially-available masks.
Masks made from the new material are capable of trapping particles smaller than 100 nanometres or, in other words, particles as small as viruses.
The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) team behind the breakthrough were originally seeking an environmentally-friendly way to mass-produce anti-pollution masks, but are now seeking industry partners to roll out a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
QUT engineer Dr Thomas Rainey said the mask’s improved breathability would assist health workers and people with respiratory conditions.
“The higher the breathability the greater the comfort and reduction in fatigue,” he said. “This is an important factor for people who have to wear masks for long periods or those with existing respiratory conditions.”
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