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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.

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"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.

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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.

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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.

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