Innovative polymer materials for respiratory protection against new risks

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Nanoscale engineering is one of the most rapidly growing areas of research in material science. Advantages associated with the use of nanomaterials base on the fact that they have a number of specific properties that are essential for a practical use. Currently the most common nanomaterials used for industrial purposes are nanopowders with a particle size less than 100 nm. Their inclusion into the structure of various materials results in significant change of their mechanical, optical, hygienic, physical and chemical properties. Unfortunately, epidemiological studies on the harmful effects of nanoparticles on the human body indicate that there is a need for effective protective equipment that could be used for their safe handling and disposal. Special attention should be paid to the problem of nanoparticles’ filtration efficiency of respiratory protective devices. The basic filters used in such devices are made of filtering nonwovens that usually do not provide a sufficient respiratory protection against nanoaerosols. Therefore, it is crucial to develop innovative polymeric materials that could be used for the construction of respirators protecting against airborne nanoparticles.

The research on this subject was recently conducted within the POIG.01.01.02-10-08/09 project entitled: „Innovative polymeric material and carbon-protecting nanoparticles, vapors and gases“. A new method to improve filtration efficiency of nanoparticles of the nonwoven fabric was developed. It was achieved by adding modifiers to the molten polymer (polypropylene or polycarbonate) during the production of nonwoven in the melt-blowing process. Developed modified filtering materials have been used in the construction of reusable filtering half-masks .

As a result of the project, two new designs of fiber-forming head, and two new methods for modification of the filtering nonwoven materials have been developed and filed as patent applications to the Patent Office of the Republic of Poland.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

This publication draws on the results obtained as part of the Operational Programme Innovative Economy (OP IE) 2007–2013, Priority 1: „Research and development of modern technologies,“ Measure 1.1 „Support for scientific research for the development of a knowledge-based economy,“ Submeasure 1.1.2 „Strategic programmes of scientific research and development“; as well as on the OP IE Project 01.01.02-10-018/09 entitled: „Innovative polymer and carbon materials for protection of the respiratory system against nanoparticles, vapours and gases.“

Agnieszka Brochocka Ph.D. (Eng.) (agbro@ciop.lodz.pl) for more information.

 

 

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