Utilizing cotton-candy machines to supply N95-quality mask-filter materials | Boing Boing

Using cotton-candy machines to produce N95-quality mask-filter material | Boing Boing

N95 is a US customary for particulate filtering; a fabric must be ready to block at least 95% of airborne particles. That materials is relatively costly, however Mahesh Bandi — a physicist on the OIST Graduate College — has found out tips on how to make N95-quality stuff out of recycled plastic melted right into a goo and spun out utilizing a cotton-candy machine.

His paper on the process is right here, and Interesting Engineering has a short write-up of how the technique works:

The brand new approach requires the heating of extraordinary plastics (like bottles or purchasing baggage), after which inserting them inside cotton sweet machines — additionally known as sweet floss machines. Then the machine spins the plastic into a fabric not not like the mesh of cotton sweet, which is electrocharged throughout the spinning course of.

Afterwards, Bandi cuts the ensuing materials into small sq. snippets, after which enhances their electrostatic cost through placing them in proximity to the vent of a standard air ionizer.

The brand new cotton candy-like filters had been examined inside surgical masks, the place they proved extremely efficient — however the masks weren’t a practical possibility. That is when Bandi designed his personal masks to permit for a easy insertion and elimination of filters — since every masks requires three — and made use of a 3D printer to create the ultimate product.

Intense testing — which concerned microscopic inspections and comparisons with N95 filters — noticed the filters show as efficient at stopping the inhalation of coronaviruses as regular N95-like respirators.

The standard caveats about exploratory, early-stage experiments apply right here — that is simply preliminary work, no concept if it may truly scale or how dependable it might be, and many others.

But it surely’s a particularly cool idea, nice lateral considering, and I like the concept of janky cotton-candy machines being dragged out of storage and used to assist struggle COVID-19.

(That CC-2.0-licensed photo of a cotton candy machine courtesy the Flickr stream of Tabrez Syed)

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