Novel Nanofibre Air Filter Improves Air Flow and Quality
Air-filters are generally gauged by a parameter called quality factor, which is dependent on two sub-factors, namely particle filtration efficiency and air permeability. Currently, while commercial respirators have a high particle filtration efficiency, air permeability is still considerably low, thus resulting in a low quality factor.
The NUS team’s novel air filter can filter up to 90 % of hazardous particles that are less than 2.5 microns in size — also known as PM2.5 particles and associated with serious health threats — while maintaining air flow that is 2.5 times better than respirators that are commercially available, the scientists claim. The particle filtration efficiency could also be further enhanced, depending on the purpose and functionality of the air filter.
“High-efficiency air filters often requires multiple layers of microfibres or nanofibres, thus limiting their transparency and as such, they are not suitable to be incorporated in doors and windows of buildings. The see-through air filter developed using our approach has promising applications in terms of improving indoor air quality, and could be especially useful for countries experiencing haze or with high pollution levels. While increasing filtration efficiency will lead to a trade-off in air flow, the overall performance of our air filter is still better than commercial respirators,” explained Asst Prof Tan.
The NUS research team has filed a patent for their invention. Moving forward, the team is looking into adding more functionalities, such as anti-bacterial properties, into the air filter. The team is also planning to work with industry partners to commercialise this novel technology.