This mask filter, which can be placed inside a cotton mask, was developed to maintain its efficiency even after more than 20 washes using soap. The filter's structure also remains unchanged after three hours of disinfection with alcohol, which means it can be used for more than a month. Conventional mask filters use an electrostatic method to block particles, so their efficiency wears off as the static energy on the surface gradually disappears and they cannot be washed.
But this new filter was made by crossing and aligning fine nanofibers to create small air holes that block viruses while allowing for easy breathing.
"The filter is not static but instead provides a physical barrier, so it can come into contact with liquids."
The research team hand washed the filter using soap and there was no change in the nanofiber structure even after 20 washes. The filter maintained its structure and 94 percent of its KF80 to N95 filtration ability after being dipped in ethanol. It also withstood four-thousand crumples and stretches. The researchers plan to commercialize the filter once they get approval from the food and drug ministry. They expect the filter to solve the mask shortage in Korea as well as reduce the environmental impact of masks when they're thrown away.
Park Se-young, Arirang News.