Health Protection Novel Nanofibre Air Filter Improves Air Flow and Quality
A research team from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has successfully concocted a novel nanofibre solution that creates thin, see-through air filters that can remove up to 90 % of PM2.5 particles and achieve high air flow of 2.5 times better than conventional air filters. Additionally, this eco-friendly air filter improves natural lighting and visibility while blocking harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Singapore — According to the researchers, their air filters are suitable for applications on windows and doors to improve indoor air quality and also had promising applications in respirators.
Using phthalocyanine, a chemical compound commonly used in dyeing, the NUS team engineered organic molecules that could self-organise, similar to the stacking of building blocks, to form nanoparticles and subsequently, nanofibres. These nanofibres, which exist in the form of an organic solution, easily "cling" onto the non-woven mesh when dispersed onto the material.
"Air pollution poses serious health threats. Therefore, there is a strong need for economical and effective technologies for air filtration. Currently, most nanofibres used in air filters are energy intensive to produce and require specialised equipment. Our team has developed a simple, quick and cost-effective way of producing high-quality air filters that effectively remove harmful particles and further improves indoor air quality by enhancing air ventilation and reducing harmful UV rays. In the long run, it may even be possible for a DIY (do-it-yourself) kit to be made available commercially for consumers to make air filters at home," explained Assistant Professor Tan Swee Ching from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the NUS Faculty of Engineering, who led the research.
The NUS team also comprises Mr Sai Kishore Ravi from the NUS Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and Dr Varun Kumar Singh, who was formerly with the Department. The findings of the study was recently published in the online version of scientific journal, Small.