IIT-M start-up develops unique coating material to ‘inactivate’ coronavirus

By: |
May 6, 2020 2:55 AM

The Indian Institute of Technology-Madras’ (IIT-M) incubated start-up Muse Wearables has developed new methods for coating textiles with nanoparticles-based antimicrobial agents that can ‘inactivate’ the human coronavirus on contact.

These coatings are expected to be effective up to 60 wash cycles, thereby making the textiles reusable.These coatings are expected to be effective up to 60 wash cycles, thereby making the textiles reusable.

The Indian Institute of Technology-Madras’ (IIT-M) incubated start-up Muse Wearables has developed new methods for coating textiles with nanoparticles-based antimicrobial agents that can ‘inactivate’ the human coronavirus on contact.

These coatings are expected to be effective up to 60 wash cycles, thereby making the textiles reusable. The coated textiles can be primarily used to manufacture N-95 masks, surgical masks, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and food packaging bags, among others, with inherent properties of inactivating the coronavirus.

Some highlights of these nano-particles coated textiles include anti-microbial properties (it continuously captures and destroys viruses and other microbes upon contact). Other viruses as small as 30 nanometre can also be inactivated permanently and it does not leach while washing in water and is environment-friendly. At present the particles can be coated on materials like cotton, polyester and cotton–polyester. More fabrics will be tested soon. It is non-toxic and therefore can be safely used for making masks and other PPEs, a press release said.

Muse Wearables’ current pilot machine can coat textiles of length up to 100 metres within a few minutes, thereby making it a viable commercial solution that can be deployed immediately. Currently, Muse Wearables is assembling the coating machine and will shortly commence coating various textiles with different nanoparticle solutions. The coated textiles is expected to be ready for testing by the first week of May 2020.

The start-up is also partnering with a mask manufacturing company to launch five-layered anti-viral N-95 mask at an estimated price of Rs 300 per piece.

KLN Sai Prasanth, chief executive officer, Conzumex Industries, which operates the brand Muse Wearables said, “Our solution tries to solve the current pandemic problem at the root level by inactivating coronavirus permanently. As soon as it comes in contact with the coated nanoparticles, its structure is permanently destroyed by the nanoparticles. For example, people using masks made by our coated textiles will not transmit the virus to others or have less chances of the virus getting transmitted to them.”

He added: “Our coating process is scalable, which means it can be deployed in any textile industry as a textile finishing process. The solution we are developing are not confined to a research laboratory but can be used for commercial purposes,” he added.

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