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Physicist Uses a Cotton Candy Machine to Make Respirator Filters for N95 Masks Cheaper


A physics graduate student is creating the most effective face mask, the N95, with little more than a wave of his hand.

Using a cotton candy machine, Mahesh Bandi of Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University can create face masks cheaper and faster than any other industrial process currently used.

This is because the unique but expensive electro-charged plastic foam filters that characterize an N95 can be made by taking pieces of regular plastic from objects such as water bottles and shopping bags, heating them to a high temperature, and spinning them in a machine. cotton candy until it forms a mesh.

The mesh is electrically charged, the key aspect that allows them to filter out 95% of the particles, while rotating around the metal drum of the machine, and can become more electro-sticky after Bandi cuts the mesh into squares and places them in the ventilation of an air ionizer.

How Bandi works, OIST

Microscopic analysis and comparisons with certified N95 masks show that Bandi’s filters are as effective as stopping the inhalation of foreign particles, including SARS-CoV-2 viruses.

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In the early days of the pandemic, medical experts made it clear that cloth masks, homemade or otherwise, or standard surgical masks, were not a very effective method of protection, but that N95s, the masks they wear people who really need to keep their mouths and noses safe, like asbestos workers, were a very effective tool.

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The mask design required a 3D printer to create, and while it is unclear whether the product can be mass produced, Corresponding Bandi article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences it’s a fascinating proof of concept.

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