Transdisciplinary research grant announcement – cheaper face masks project

Cheaper and more effective face masks through design and paper science

Face masks are used for an immense range of purposes, such as preventing inhalation of air pollution (e.g. in China) or spreading of disease (e.g. in a hospital). The use of face masks to prevent transmission of airborne particles and pathogens, is limited in instances where they would be of benefit, due to emotional and experiential barriers (for example, self-consciousness is observed amongst cystic fibrosis patients) and poor breathability. In addition, current synthetic face masks are not renewable, nor biodegradable. QUT researchers at IFE have developed a renewable cellulose-based material, which captures ultrafine particles (i.e. <100 nm) with lower pressure drop than current face mask materials, making it a more efficient and breathable barrier. It is intended to use the adaptability of the cellulose-based material to produce a cheap, appealing, breathable and highly efficient face mask which will improve the user experience whilst being disposable. This project is essential to establish proof-of-concept and attract an industry.

Project leader: Tom Rainey (SEF).

Amount $42,000. [Faculties engaged: SEF / CIF/ Business/ Health]