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Copper Coating on 3D Printed Plastic Filters for COVID19 Masks

Metal News - Published on Fri, 18 Sep 2020

Image Source: 3D Printed Copper Coated Plastic Filters COVID19 Masks
In the ongoing fight against COVID-19, experts on microbiology and copper are recommending an expanded use of the metal to reduce the virus's spread. So might copper be incorporated into the construction of masks, the universally accepted virus-fighting personal items. In the prototype of the mask's filter, a ring with V-shape "fins" was designed to increase the surface area where air passes through more channels. Jing Zhang of the School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI and a team of researchers are using a copper coating on 3D-printed plastic filters to create more-efficient masks and respirators.

Using copper plating to cover some frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs and elevator buttons inspired researcher to see how they could combine what looks like almost a magic metal into a mask design. The challenge was to find a structure that blocks out tiny aerosol particles while also providing proper ventilation for breathing, and nature had an answer, the gills on fish. Gills allow fish to draw oxygen from water, and that design is incorporated into the prototype mask.

In the prototype, a ring with V-shape "fins," an analogous structure to the gill filament, was designed to increase the surface area where air passes through more channels. Two approaches to creating that are using a green-laser metal 3D printer to directly reproduce the complex copper structure or, in an even more economical way to create the design, 3D-printing a plastic structure followed by electroplating, in which the 3D-printed plastic component is merged in a liquid solution full of copper ions and the ions are migrated and cover the surface under electric field.

This can be used on a daily basis while also being applied to other systems, such as air vent filters in buildings and airplanes that require long-term use

Zhang's team has a $20,000 grant from the IU Office of the Vice President for Research, along with a matching grant for student support from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI.

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Posted By : Yogender Pancholi on Fri, 18 Sep 2020
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