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Materials — Self-sanitizing N95 masks

Scientists, from left, Parans Paranthaman, Tina Summers and Merlin Theodore at DOE’s Carbon Fiber Technology Facility at ORNL are partnering with industry and a university to develop antiviral materials for N95 masks. Credit: Genevieve Martin/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers collaborated with Iowa State University and RJ Lee Group to demonstrate a safe and effective antiviral coating for N95 masks. The coating destroys the COVID-19-causing coronavirus and could enable reuse of masks made from various fabrics.

The team evaluated Goldshield 75, finding that the patented product effectively killed the novel coronavirus without degrading mask fibers and showed no toxicity. Coated masks were germ-free 24 hours after virus exposure even over repeated test cycles and after high-temperature storage.

The work builds on technology developed at the DOE Carbon Fiber Technology Facility at ORNL. “We explored avenues to integrate effective antiviral coatings that are safe for the wearer and the environment,” said ORNL’s Parans Paranthaman.

“The long-term goal is to develop filter media with a built-in coating, which may also be useful in other applications, such as air filters for hospitals, or in combatting other pathogens,” said ORNL’s Merlin Theodore. — Ashley Huff and Jennifer Burke