Multifunctional air filtration for respiratory protection using electrospun nanofibre membrane

Kadam, V 2018, Multifunctional air filtration for respiratory protection using electrospun nanofibre membrane, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Fashion and Textiles, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Multifunctional air filtration for respiratory protection using electrospun nanofibre membrane
Author(s) Kadam, V
Year 2018
Abstract The ubiquitous presence of air pollutants and its consequences on human health is a global concern. Air pollutants, comprised of particulate matter (PM) and gaseous pollutants, differ in size and volatility. The microfibre based filter media is commonly being used to capture PM. The conventional air filter media does not capture aerosols smaller than 0.3 μm efficiently. They have limited surface area and requires high basis weights (10–200 g/m²) to attain desired filtration efficiency. In addition, protection against volatile organic compounds (VOCs) of the conventional media is negligible. Electrospun nanofibres have been efficient in capturing PM2.5 at small basis weights (0.5–5 g/m²), however, at the expense of high pressure drop (breathing resistance) which is not desirable for respiratory filtration. This research presents the design and development of electrospun nanofibre membranes (ENMs) for capturing PM and VOCs simultaneously at a minimum pressure drop.

Two novel approaches are studied to reduce the pressure drop of ENMs. The method of the bead (200 nm) on string (55 nm) formation in sequential bilayer successfully decreased the pressure drop (137 Pa) with excellent filtration efficiency (> 95%). In another approach, the sequential layering of coarse (400 nm) and fine (200 nm) nanofibres further reduced the pressure drop to 87 Pa and showed comparable filtration efficiency at a basis weight of 1 g/m². ENMs in this study meet the requirement of respirator mask recommended by the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH). The filtration performance is at par with commercial P1 and P2 type masks along with lower pressure drop.

ENMs and the textile substrate functionalised with β–cyclodextrin were found useful in capturing model VOCs: formaldehyde, xylene and benzene. The VOC adsorption performance of ENMs was found many folds higher than the functionalised textile substrate and commercial P2 type masks. The ENM comprised of gelatin biopolymer showed multifunctional air filtration properties capturing PM and VOCs simultaneously. Gelatin/β–cyclodextrin composite ENMs were found most efficient for formaldehyde adsorption. Overall, ENMs in this study would be handy for personal and occupational safety as an advanced material for respiratory protection.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Fashion and Textiles
Subjects Membrane and Separation Technologies
Nanomaterials
Textile Technology
Keyword(s) Air filtration
Electrospinning
Nanofibre membrane
Pressure drop
Pore size
Nanofibre packing density
Volatile organic compounds adsorption
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Created: Thu, 06 Dec 2018, 10:05:32 EST by Keely Chapman
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