Suranjoy Singam Singh, a PhD Student at the School of Engineering, University of Guelph (CSBE student member) has won the First Prize of Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) College Heat, 2022, College of Engineering and Physical Sciences (CEPS), University of Guelph. His presentation topic was ‘Biodegradable and Antimicrobial Filter for Respiratory Mask’.
He was also the winner of the same competition for the 2021 edition at the University level. He is a final year PhD student under the supervision of Dr. Manickavasagan Annamalai (School of Engineering) and Dr. Loong-Tak Lim (Department of Food Science). His research objective is to develop a biobased face mask filter with enhanced breathability, filtration efficiency, and antiviral properties.
The mask design is developed from a biobased polymer ‘ethyl cellulose’ using a free-surface electrospinning technique. Electrospinning uses high voltage electric force to create sub-micron sized fibers that are 20 to 50 times smaller than those in a conventional surgical mask. To create the antimicrobial properties, silver nanoparticles were incorporated during electrospinning which can kill pathogens, such as COVID-19.