Explained: Do graphene face masks work better than commonly used surgical masks to prevent COVID-19?
Hong Kong, Sep 14: To fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic, the scientists have successfully produced graphene masks with an anti-bacterial efficiency of 80 per cent, which can be enhanced to almost 100 per cent with exposure to sunlight for around 10 minutes.
According to a study, published in the journal ACS Nano, the beginning process showed very promising results in the deactivation of two species of coronaviruses.
"The graphene masks are easily produced at low cost and can help to resolve the problems of sourcing raw materials and disposing of non-biodegradable masks," said the study authors from the City University of Hong Kong (CityU).
The researchers also allegedly claimed that those commonly used surgical masks are not anti-bacterial. This may lead to the risk of secondary transmission of bacterial infection when people touch the contaminated surfaces of the used masks or discard them improperly.
Meanwhile, the study's main researcher Dr Ye Ruquan Graphene is known for its anti-bacterial properties, so as early as last September, before the outbreak of the pandemic, producing outperforming masks with laser-induced graphene already came across Dr Ye Ruquan's mind.
The research team, for the findings, tested their laser-induced graphene with E. coli, and it achieved high anti-bacterial efficiency of about 82 per cent.
Experiment results also showed that over 90 per cent of the E. coli deposited on them remained alive even after 8 hours, while most of the E. coli deposited on the graphene surface were dead after eight hours. Moreover, the laser-induced graphene showed a superior anti-bacterial capacity for aerosolised bacteria.
The earlier studies suggested that COVID-19 would lose its infectivity at high temperatures. So the team carried out experiments to test if the graphene's photothermal effect can enhance the anti-bacterial effect.