Researchers develop air filter that could trap and kill COVID-19 virus

July 14, 2020 0 By FM

Researchers at the University of Houston have developed a new air filter that could entrap and kill the COVID-19 causing the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The study is published online in the journal Materials Today Physics.

The authors noted that virus tests conducted at the Galveston National Laboratory found that the filter could kill about 99.8% of the virus particles. The viruses were killed in a single pass through the filter which is made from nickel foam that is heated to 200 degrees Centigrade. The foam was folded and connected with multiple compartments with electrical wires to increase the resistance high enough to raise the temperature as high as 250 degrees C.

The filter also killed 99.9% of the anthrax spores in testing at the national lab, which is run by the University of Texas Medical Branch, revealed the study.

The virus could remain in the air for about three hours, said the researchers, hence developing a filter that could remove them quickly while satisfying the requirements for conventional heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems was considered.

By making the filter electrically heated, rather than heating it from an external source, the researchers said they minimised the amount of heat that escaped from the filter, allowing air conditioning to function with minimal strain.

“This filter could be useful in airports and in airplanes, in office buildings, schools and cruise ships to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Ren, MD Anderson Chair Professor of Physics at UH and the co-corresponding author for the paper.

The researchers are also proposing to develop a desk-top model capable of purifying the air in an office worker’s immediate surroundings, added the authors.