Research Foundation News

June 23, 2020

New approach to extend shelf life for N95 mask

mask-life A Purdue University team has come up with an approach to extend the shelf life for an N95 mask, which is one of the pieces of personal protective equipment being used by health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Stock photo) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A Purdue University team has come up with an approach to extend the shelf life for an N95 mask, which is one of the pieces of personal protective equipment being used by health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Purdue innovators developed a technique that focuses on the elastic band that attaches to the front of the mask.

“The shelf life for an N95 mask is primarily affected by the elastic band holding the mask together, since the elastic disintegrates after a certain period of time,” said Hersh Rai, a graduate student at Purdue in computer and information technology. “We designed a way to create the masks using the same filter material on the front, but with different materials for the band and with novel attachment locations and methods.”

The Purdue team’s approach, which the innovators worked to patent through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization, is designed to extend the shelf life and the individual fit of the mask.

“We took our expertise in design and applied it to help fix a problem affecting the frontline workers during this pandemic,” said Nicholas Toan-Nang Vu, a graduate student at Purdue in mechanical engineering.

The team created several design options that work with elastic or different materials that can be attached to the front of the mask in different ways to allow the band materials to be swapped out so the mask can last longer. The designs provide more attachment points for the band materials, which allow for a more secure fit without contaminating the front material.

The team is looking for partners to continue developing their technology. For more information on licensing and other opportunities, contact Matt Halladay of OTC at mrhalladay@prf.org.

Rai and Vu are both active members of the U.S. Navy and worked on the project under the leadership of Eric Dietz, a Purdue professor who leads the Purdue Military Research Initiative.

About Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization

The Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization operates one of the most comprehensive technology transfer programs among leading research universities in the U.S. Services provided by this office support the economic development initiatives of Purdue University and benefit the university's academic activities through commercializing, licensing and protecting Purdue intellectual property. The office recently moved into the Convergence Center for Innovation and Collaboration in Discovery Park District, adjacent to the Purdue campus. In fiscal year 2019, the office reported 136 deals finalized with 231 technologies signed, 380 disclosures received and 141 issued U.S. patents. The office is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2019 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Award for Place from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. In 2020, IPWatchdog Institute ranked Purdue third nationally in startup creation and in the top 20 for patents. The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University. Contact otcip@prf.org for more information.      

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 6 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at purdue.edu.

Writer: Chris Adam, cladam@prf.org 

Sources:
Eric Dietz, jedietz@purdue.edu

Hersh Rai, rai30@purdue.edu

Nicholas Toan-Nang Vu, vun@purdue.edu


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