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JU students make lethal masks that will kill COVID-19 virus! Soon to come to market!

5 July, 2020 02:20:56
JU students make lethal masks that will kill COVID-19 virus! Soon to come to market!

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the  World Health Organization has been very categorical about the use of masks as part of a comprehensive package for the prevention and control of spread of certain respiratory viral diseases, including COVID-19. The government too, has been reiterating the need to use masks to prevent human-to-human transmission of COVID-19. But now, the protective mask is going to turn into a lethal weapon to kill the virus. Sounds incredible?  But it is true. 

A group of researchers from Jadavpur University who are working on this project claim the new mask they have developed will be empowered to kill the virus itself. They have developed a technically simple, indigenous product using low-cost and readily available materials. But how will it work? Researchers have cited the instance of electrically charged electronic badminton bats which are widely used to kill mosquitoes and other household flying insects. The same principle has been put to use to ward off the virus. 

We all have a basic knowledge about the concept of static electricity from our high school physics book. When one object is rubbed against another, static electricity is created. This is because the rubbing creates a negative charge that is carried by electrons. The electrons can build up to produce static electricity for instance, when hair is brushed with a comb, the hair stand on end due to static electricity. Using this technology, researchers are all set to wage a war against the deadly virus. 

At present, women from a self-help group in north Dumdum have been assigned to make the  special protective masks and work is in full swing to complete the first set of masks and send it to the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) for trial. They are being assisted by members of the university’s Instrumentation and Electronics Engineering Department.  A model of this mask has been sent to Cornell University in the US as well for trial run.  Once mass production begins, the product will hit Indian markets but that will take some time now. Each mask will cost something between Rs100 and Rs 150 and the best part of the product is that, it is both waterproof reusable. 

How is static electricity being produced in the mask? According to professors working on the project, the concept of triboelectrification has been used in the mask. It is a well-known phenomenon that commonly occurs in nature and in our lives at any time and any place. The triboelectric effect (also known as triboelectric charging) is a type of contact electrification on which certain materials become electrically charged after they are separated from a different material with which they were in contact. In this case, the raw material being used for the mask is triboelectric (cloth, silk). An electrocution layer or electric socket is being placed within the mask. But how is that going to work against the virus? Researchers cite the electronic mosquito repellant racket. Every time the bat is switched on, the metal strings become electrically charged and the moment mosquitoes come in contact with the wires, they are electrocuted and die instantly. The mask will function in the same module except that it will not be as high voltage a device as the mosquito repellant bat. The mask is charged mechanically with our intake and outflow of breath and it is stored in the charging unit of the socket. The moment the virus comes in contact with the mask, it is electrocuted and destroyed, claim the researchers. 

A team of researchers comprising Professor Bipon Tudu and Professor Rajeeb Bandopadhyay of Jadavpur University and Professor Nityananda Das of  J.K. College of Purulia along with a few research scholars have been working tirelessly for the past two-and-a-half months on this project.   Professor Tudu explains the mask will not only prevent the virus from entering the human body but will kill any virus that comes in contact with it. 

Story Tag:
  • Indian Council for Medical Research, Covid-19, JU Engineering department

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