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IIT-M start-up develops fabric coating to make virus inert

A start-up incubated at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras’s cell is developing novel methods to coat textiles with nanoparticlesbased antimicrobial agents that can make the coronavirus inactive on contact. It can be used to make N95 masks, surgical masks, personal protective equipment (PPE) and food packaging bags among others, a release said.

IIT-M start-up develops fabric coating to make virus inert
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The pilot machine that the start-up, Muse Wearables, has come up with can coat about 100 metres of textile in a few minutes, it said adding that the coatings are expected to be effective up to 60 wash cycles, thereby making the textiles reusable.

According to Tamaswati Ghosh, CEO of IIT Madras Incubation Cell, Muse Wearables is assembling the coating machine and will shortly commence coating various textiles with different nanoparticle solutions.

“Their coated textiles is expected to be ready for testing by the first week of May,” she said, adding that the firm was also partnering with a mask manufacturing company to launch five-layered, antiviral N95 masks at an estimated price of Rs 300 per piece.

She added that the nanoparticlescoated textiles have nti-microbial properties, an can capture and destroy viruses and other microbes upon contact. Viruses as small as 30 nanometre can be inactivated permanently, and it does not leach while washing in water.

Stating that particles can be coated on materials like cotton, polyester and cotton– polyester as of now, she said more fabrics would be tested soon. “It is non-toxic and therefore can be safely used for making masks and other PPEs,” she added.

After requests from other businesses, Muse Wearables is planning to deploy similar machines in their manufacturing process or supply the textiles themselves. The startup is also looking for grants to scale up. Once the pandemic is over, the company is expected to develop other kinds of applications using these fabrics and use them in future wearable products.

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