Test results from UK biosafety unit show mask technology filters out even the smallest particles

Pioneering face mask technology

Pioneering face mask technology developed by a UK organisation has been shown to offer superior protection against even the smallest of virus particles.

The technology developed by Chemport Ltd was tested by the UK Government’s Health Laboratories at Porton Down, with results showing it offered a superior barrier against smaller airborne particulates than current disposable protective technology in use worldwide.

Emerging evidence suggests that coronavirus particles can remain airborne for longer, and travel further, and this has been acknowledged by the World Health Organization.

Chemport founder and director, Steve Rawlings, said that as the science began to help our understanding of how the virus could be transmitted, it was clear that a more effective solution was needed to tackle its spread and that of other known viruses.

He added: “In tests carried out by the British Government Biosafety Investigation Unit at Porton Down, the technology that we’ve developed has been shown to offer 99.93% efficiency in protection against ingress of aerosolised particles representing the virus, compared with filtration rates of just 97% for FFP3/N100 masks.

“What is crucial however, is that our V-100 technology was tested and shown to be effective against particles just 23 nanometres (nm) in size. This is critical when you consider that tiny virus particles are thought to be suspended in the air through aerosol transmission.”

Current best-performing disposable respirators classed as FFP3/N100 are tested as a barrier against particles down to 300nm only. The Coronavirus is known to be significantly smaller, at between 80-120 nm in size.

The Chemport technology harnesses three distinct types of barriers and protection:

  • A viricidal outer fabric which destroys 77% of the virus within 60 seconds and over 90% within 5 minutes. Washed 50 times at 60oc, it continues to offer 98% effectiveness within two hours.
  • Triboelectric charged filtration which, with a combination of a nine-layer filter medium, retains and re-generates its triboelectric charge, even after becoming wet.
  • Mechanical sieving due to the unique nine-layer barrier which does not impede the ingress and egress of air when breathing.

The technology is being used to produce protective filters, face mask panels, and complete face masks, and the company is already in talks with manufacturers, national and local government agencies, NGOs and large retailers.

Mr Rawlings has used a career in the exploration of the protective qualities of clothing materials and filtration to bring the innovative technology to market.

He added: “This is a true British success story and I’m hugely proud to have developed this ground-breaking technology to help us to go further in the fight against life-threatening viruses.”

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