A Researcher in Alberta Receives Award for COVID-19 Mask Innovation

Salt that crystallizes with sharp edges is the killer ingredient in the development of a reusable mask because any COVID-19 droplets that land on it would be quickly destroyed, says a researcher who is being recognized for her innovation.

Ilaria Rubino, a new Ph.D. graduate from the department of chemical and material engineering at the University of Alberta, said a solution of mainly salt and water coating the first or middle layer of the mask dissolves the droplets. small gases before they can seep into the mask.

As the liquid from the droplets evaporates, the salt crystals re-grow as a spiked weapon, killing bacteria or viruses within 5 minutes, Rubino said.

“We know that after the pathogens remain in the mask, they can survive. Our goal is to develop a technology that can neutralize the pathogens on exposure for the most effective mask. may.”

Rubino teamed up with a researcher at Georgia State University in Atlanta to promote a project she started five years ago. Rubino received a new invention award from the Mitacs.

This Canadian nonprofit receives funding from the federal government, most provinces, and the Yukon in honour of researchers from academic institutions.

This mask is reusable but cannot be washed. The material is polypropylene, a plastic used in surgical masks, that can be safely worn and handled multiple times without being contaminated, Rubino said.

The salt-coated respirator is expected to go on sale next year after being approved by regulators. It can also be used to stop the spread of other infectious diseases, such as the flu, Rubino said.

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