Special Issue "Personal Protective Materials (PPMs) re COVID-19"

A special issue of Materials (ISSN 1996-1944). This special issue belongs to the section "Materials Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. George K. Stylios
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Research Institute for Flexible Materials, School of Textiles and Design, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh EH14 4AS, UK
Interests: smart textile materials; technical and performance materials; filtration; nanotextiles; wearable sensors and devices; textile mechanics; design/technology; intelligent manufacturing; robotics and AI
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Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

There are innumerable environmental and occupational hazards but the most significant risk to humans is posed by infections related to bio-aerosols, which include microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses leading to infectious diseases. These particles are very small 20–400 nm in diameter and investigating their exposure is not easy. We know for example that airborne pathogen particles of less than 5 microns can stay airborne for hours and can be transported long distances. To reduce these risks, infection control strategies need to be employed to prevent the spread of contamination to and from others through inhaling, touch, saliva, cough and sneeze, sexual contact, food, water and insects. One of the best strategies to control the risk of infections is to use personal protection equipment (PPE); surgical masks, protective gloves, face visors, gowns, and total enclosures. Consequently, the materials employed for PPE are very important and have to undergo stringent standards before being certified for use, this is what we target in this Special Issue.

Recently a coronavirus (COVID-19) caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) became rapidly pandemic and is causing death and misery to humanity. Without a vaccine or any cure, at present, our only strategy is to contain the disease from spreading and offer protection to all. Unfortunately, most of the PPE have been designed for known pathogens in size and behaviour and are not designed for Covid-19. A good example of this is the use of face masks that is still causing confusion, with “some” questioning the high infection of medical staff and the effectiveness of these masks. Against this background, we are launching this Special Issue covering PPM, and although not exclusive to Covid-19, we would like to pull together the scientific community to help with facts, the progress of the research in new materials and processes, measurement and control, and hopefully to offer fast and effective solutions to personal protection. Your work may not necessarily be targeting Covid-19 but a paragraph discussion in relation to it in your submission will be much appreciated. The sooner we can achieve the conclusions from this Special Issue the better will be and I am pleading with you to send your work as soon as possible.

Prof. Dr. George K. Stylios
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • personal protective materials PPM
  • personal protective equipment PPE
  • Covid-19
  • face masks
  • protective gloves
  • medical gowns, face visors
  • filtration measurement
  • porosity
  • breathability
  • filtration materials
  • filtration efficiency
  • bacterial viral filters
  • particulate studies
  • particulate matter PM
  • droplet
  • dispersal
  • air suspension
  • contamination through food, water, surfaces, insects
  • airborne pathogen studies
  • aerosols
  • physical transmission tests
  • material functionalisation
  • nanoparticles
  • non-woven
  • composites
  • biomaterial
  • computer fluid dynamic modelling
  • surface-active agents

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Biological Cloth Face Coverings—The Reduction of SARS-CoV-2 and Influenza (H1N1) Infectivity by Viruferrin™ Treatment
Materials 2021, 14(9), 2327; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14092327 - 30 Apr 2021
Viewed by 208
Abstract
In an attempt to create novel methods to reduce the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses, fabric material was treated with Viruferrin™ and tested for its inactivating properties against the pandemic severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and influenza A viruses. Inactivating [...] Read more.
In an attempt to create novel methods to reduce the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses, fabric material was treated with Viruferrin™ and tested for its inactivating properties against the pandemic severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and influenza A viruses. Inactivating properties were evaluated by comparing Viruferrin-treated and cotton control fabric material with and without the application of saliva at various time points after virus exposure. A statistically significant (p < 0.0001) decrease in the number of infectious virus particles exposed to Viruferrin-treated fabric when compared with the cotton control for both SARS-CoV-2 and influenza A viruses was observed. For both SARS-CoV-2 and influenza A, Viruferrin-treated fabrics experienced a >99% virus reduction without saliva after five minutes of contact when compared to the positive control at time point 0. Furthermore, the reusability of the Viruferrin treated fabric was demonstrated by stability for up to 10 washes. The level of anti-viral (SARS-CoV-2) activity remained constant from 5 to 10 washes and demonstrated a significant difference (p < 0.0001) from the unwashed untreated material. Applications for this treated fabric are far reaching, as a biological face covering offers not only a unique 2-way protection but also is unlikely to cause onward touch transmission. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Personal Protective Materials (PPMs) re COVID-19)
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Open AccessArticle
Size-Dependent Filtration Efficiency of Alternative Facemask Filter Materials
Materials 2021, 14(8), 1868; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14081868 - 09 Apr 2021
Viewed by 365
Abstract
The use of facemasks is proven to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus and other biological agents that cause disease. Various forms of facemasks, made using different materials, are being used extensively, and it is important to determine their performance characteristics. The size-dependent [...] Read more.
The use of facemasks is proven to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus and other biological agents that cause disease. Various forms of facemasks, made using different materials, are being used extensively, and it is important to determine their performance characteristics. The size-dependent filtration efficiency and breathing resistance of household sterilization wrap fabrics, and isolation media (American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)- and non-ASTM-rated), were measured in filter-holder- and mannequin-in-chamber-based systems, focusing on particles sizes between 20 nm and 2 μm. Double-layer MERV-14 (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values with rating 14) showed the highest filtration efficiency (94.9–73.3%) amongst household filter media, whereas ASTM-rated isolation masks showed the highest filtration efficiencies (95.6–88.7) amongst all the masks considered. Filtration efficiency of 3D-printed masks with replaceable filter media was found to depend on the degree of sealing around the media holder, which depended on the material’s compressibility. Filtration efficiencies of triple-layer combinations (95.8–85.3%) follow a profile similar to single layers but with improved filtration efficiencies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Personal Protective Materials (PPMs) re COVID-19)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Face Masks and Respirators in the Fight Against the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Review of Current Materials, Advances and Future Perspectives
Materials 2020, 13(15), 3363; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13153363 - 29 Jul 2020
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 7173
Abstract
The outbreak of COVID-19 has spread rapidly across the globe, greatly affecting how humans as a whole interact, work and go about their daily life. One of the key pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) that is being utilised to return to the [...] Read more.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has spread rapidly across the globe, greatly affecting how humans as a whole interact, work and go about their daily life. One of the key pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) that is being utilised to return to the norm is the face mask or respirator. In this review we aim to examine face masks and respirators, looking at the current materials in use and possible future innovations that will enhance their protection against SARS-CoV-2. Previous studies concluded that cotton, natural silk and chiffon could provide above 50% efficiency. In addition, it was found that cotton quilt with a highly tangled fibrous nature provides efficient filtration in the small particle size range. Novel designs by employing various filter materials such as nanofibres, silver nanoparticles, and nano-webs on the filter surfaces to induce antimicrobial properties are also discussed in detail. Modification of N95/N99 masks to provide additional filtration of air and to deactivate the pathogens using various technologies such as low- temperature plasma is reviewed. Legislative guidelines for selecting and wearing facial protection are also discussed. The feasibility of reusing these masks will be examined as well as a discussion on the modelling of mask use and the impact wearing them can have. The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) models and its applications to minimise or prevent the spread of the virus using face masks and respirators is also addressed. It is concluded that a significant amount of research is required for the development of highly efficient, reusable, anti-viral and thermally regulated face masks and respirators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Personal Protective Materials (PPMs) re COVID-19)
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