Science 02 Mar 2016 New material with ol ...

New material with old technique to let air in, keeps dust out

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Mar 2, 2016, 11:51 am IST
Updated Mar 2, 2016, 11:59 am IST
The fiber is made using an old technique that popularized in the 1950s.
Physicists have used an old technique to create a new kind of material that is transparent like glass, but can keep dust outside while allowing air to pass through. (a representational image)
 Physicists have used an old technique to create a new kind of material that is transparent like glass, but can keep dust outside while allowing air to pass through. (a representational image)

Scientists at the Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Biophysics of Russian Academy of Sciences have recently published a technique that they have used and managed to create a new material. This material is an air filter, a fiber that has unique properties. The old technique, that was popular during the 1950s, when nuclear and biological facilities we having a tough task to create clean rooms. Clean rooms are classified by a number where the lower number represents a lower number of particles per cubic meter of air. During the 1950s, the scientists had to filter the air and make sure that no dust particles would be allowed to enter the premises. However, fresh air could not be restricted. They then managed to discover a new and effective technique to do the needful.

Scientists today have managed to replicate the same technique and create a different kind of material that can filter the dust particles from the air, but will allow the air to flow through without any resistance. The process uses two jets of material that are squirted towards each other. One jet is the dissolved polymer and the other is ethanol. Each of the materials is opposite charged and when they meet, they stick and create a network of very tiny fibers. The new fiber can capture 98 per cent of dust particles.

However, as usual, an air filter would impede air when passed through it and stifles the air flow. But in this case, the mesh (fiber) manages to reduce the air resistance by 2/3rd the amount, as compared to other materials presently being used.

Another unusual property of the material is its transparency. Surprisingly, the material, though woven with fiber, allows more light through it as compared to conventional glass. In this case, the new material, transparent and porous, can be great for face masks as it can let in breathable air while trapping the dust.

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