Researchers at the Texas Center of Superconductivity at the University of Houston recently developed a filtration system that can instantly neutralize and kill 99.8% of the coronavirus after a single pass through. The discovery was originally published in Materials Today Physics.
The breakthrough is especially intriguing given that the coronavirus can remain in the air for hours and, in turn, can spread more readily than viruses like the common flu. And now that businesses are opening back up, a filtration system capable of decimating the coronavirus on contact is beyond useful.
As to the technology behind the air filtration system, the study notes that the coronavirus simply can’t withstand temperatures above 70 degrees Celsius. Consequently, the filtration system runs extremely hot — to the tune of 200 degrees Celsius — and is thus able to effectively kill the coronavirus on contact. The system itself is largely comprised of readily available nickel foam.
According to Dr. Zhifeng Ren, a co-author of the research paper, that nickel foam is the key – It is porous, allowing the flow of air, electrically conductive, which allowed it to be heated, and it is also flexible.
A prototype was then designed by a local workshop and first tested at Ren’s lab for the relationship between voltage/current and temperature. It then went to the Galveston lab to be tested for its ability to kill the virus. Ren said it satisfies the requirements for conventional heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
Looking ahead, Ren is hoping that the device will start rolling off the production line sooner rather than later. He also said Medistar is looking into offering smaller personalized models that could purify the air around a single employee’s desk or work station, according to the Chronicle.
Additionally, the research team believes that the device will help improve safety at places where workers and individuals are especially vulnerable to the virus, with schools, hospitals, and public transit being three prime examples.
While the system itself isn’t anywhere close to being as effective as a vaccine, it is still your Good News Story of the Day, find it in full here, as it could prove to be incredibly useful as storefronts continue to open. Here’s hoping such devices start to see wide spread use soon and can begin saving lives.
Story and Image from the Houston Chronicle.