How to Disinfect N95 Masks for Reuse in a Faster, Better Way?

Tuesday, June 23, 2020 - 11:03

A group of researchers from University of Chicago has applied ultraviolet light as a better, faster way to decontaminate N95 masks.

The system is currently in use at the hospital at the University of Chicago, and the team is working with the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation to certify and scale it up for wider use, Medical Xpress reports.

Ultraviolet C, a wavelength of light with the ability to kill germs, has emerged as the preferred solution for disinfecting personal protective equipment. But even though it is easy to deploy and widely applicable, the method is not without its drawbacks; as with any light, UV systems can cast shadows, leaving parts of surfaces in the dark.

To address this issue, Peter Eng, an experimental physicist and research professor at UChicago, designed and fabricated an N95 respirator decontamination cabinet, which features a UV lamp arrangement that eliminates shadowing and optimizes the dose to all surfaces of the mask.

The current setup can fully disinfect 180 masks per hour, and the inventors estimate a scaled-up, automated version could process up to 1,440 masks per hour—or more than 34,000 per day.

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