Manufacturing has begun on new College of Louisville-developed N95-style face maskss which might be low-cost, washable, reusable and might be higher at filtering COVID-19 droplets and different airborne particles and viruses. The masks now are commercially out there.
The manufacturing facility, operated by AdhviQ Applied sciences LLC, opened in late November on the UofL Belknap campus. It now churns out about 50 of the N95-style masks, plus about 100 three-ply non-surgical masks per minute, in addition to filters for fabric masks and has made them commercially out there. The corporate plans to ramp up manufacturing amid rising coronavirus case numbers.
Mahendra Sunkara mentioned he and different UofL researchers invented the masks to deal with , or PPE. Whereas generally worn disposable masks are meant , the UofL N95-style masks are distinctive in that their nanowire-woven material might be washed and reused a number of occasions — all whereas nonetheless filtering all the way down to 0.1 microns.
“Having the ability to reuse masks and filters successfully might help folks shield themselves in on a regular basis settings like grocery shops,” mentioned Sunkara, a UofL chemical engineering professor. “However they might particularly assist well being care employees, who might not have entry to as many disposable masks as they should do their jobs safely. With these masks, they might wash and put on the identical one time and again with out dropping effectiveness.”
The expertise was created by researchers at UofL’s Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research, the place Sunkara is director, and the UofL Advanced Manufacturing Institute of Science & Technology (AMIST). Early within the pandemic, they pivoted from their earlier research in areas similar to solar energy and robotics to develop instruments that might assist folks keep secure.
The researchers ADEM), a UofL-offshoot firm based by Sunkara that produces nanowire for catalysts, to develop and patent the expertise. A brand new firm, AdhviQ, licensed that expertise and now manufactures and sells the completed merchandise made utilizing supplies from ADEM.Superior Power Supplies (
Each ADEM and AdhviQ had been created at UofL, are based mostly on UofL analysis and likewise are bodily positioned on UofL’s Belknap campus.
“This is a wonderful instance of what might be achieved when UofL analysis meets trade functionality,” mentioned Kevin Gardner, UofL’s government vice chairman for analysis and innovation. “On this time of disaster, UofL researchers have risen to the problem of protecting folks secure in each facet. That is one more instance of them doing the arduous work to fight this virus and actually advance our well being.”
The masks are made utilizing inorganic nanowires woven into particular polymer fabric, forming a porous community whose openings are too small for viral particles to move via. As a result of the nanowire is fabricated from titania and zinc oxide, the masks can also simply be disinfected utilizing low-energy ultraviolet mild as a substitute for disinfecting with cleaning soap and water.
The nanowire masks differ from present N95 masks, which depend on an electrostatic cost on polymer fiber fabric to seize and filter out particles like mud, mildew and pollen. The electrostatic masks might not work to filter out liquid droplets or viral pathogens, whereas the UofL masks can.
“In working collectively, we now have been capable of create a really nice product, constructed on UofL analysis, that’s reusable, cost-effective and filters higher than generally out there disposable masks,” mentioned Siva Kakarala, founder and CEO of AdhviQ. “Our total aim is to present folks the instruments that may assist them keep secure and wholesome.”
The masks can be found for order on the, and the corporate expects to obtain FDA certification quickly.