A team of researchers at the Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences (CeNS), Bangalore, has come up with face masks, termed as TriboE Mask (comprising of polypropylene layers on the outside and nylon layer in between) that can hold electric charges to restrict the entry of infections, without any external power.Key Points:
i.The mask was developed by Dr. PralaySantra, Dr Ashutosh Singh and Professor Giridhar U. Kulkarni which relies on the principle of electrostatics and the ideas from physics textbooks on triboelectricity.
- Mask is expected to reduce the transmission of micro-droplets that linger in the air.
ii.Electrostatics: When 2 non-conducting layers are rubbed against each other, the layers develop positive and negative charges instantly and continue to hold the charges for some time. They have used this electric field to deactivate or possibly even kill the germs.
iii.About TriboE Mask: The mask is three layered- a layer of nylon cloth sandwiched between polypropylene layers, the latter sourced from commonly used non woven grocery bags. In place of nylon, silk fabric from an old saree or shawl may also be cut & used.
iv.When layers are rubbed against each other (static electricity is produced), the outer layers develop negative charges, while nylon will hold the positive charges. This will act as double electric wall protection against the infectious entities crossing.
v.As the mask is made out of commonly available fabrics, it can be washed just like any other cloth and also be reused. At this stage, the mask is, however, not recommended to healthcare professionals and patients.
The Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences (CeNS), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India (GOI).
Chairman– Professor V. Ramgopal Rao.