Recycled bottle-grade PET used in personal protection

Authors: Jaroslava Frajová 1    Alena Šišková Opálková 2,3    Katarína Mosnáčková 2    Jakub Hrůza 4    Mária Bučková 5    Andrej Opálek 3    Angela Kleinová 2    Anita Andiscová Eckstein 2    Zuzana Holková 2   
1 Technical University in Liberec, Faculty of Textile, Faculty of Arts and Architecture, Studentská 1402/2, 460 01 Liberec, Czech Republic;    2 Polymer Institute of Slovak Academy of Sciences, Dúbravská cesta 9, 845 41 Bratislava, Slovakia;    3 Institute of Materials and Machine Mechanics, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Dúbravská cesta 9, 845 13 Bratislava, Slovakia.    4 Technical University in Liberec, Institute for Nanomaterials, Advanced Technologies and Innovation, Studentská 1402/2, 461 17 Liberec, Czech Republic;    5 Institute of Molecular Biology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Dúbravská cesta 9, 845 51 Bratislava, Slovakia;   
Year: 2021
Section: SARS-CoV-2
Abstract No.: 2247
ISBN: ISBN 978-80-972360-7-6

Following the current pandemic situation all over the world and prognosis published up to date by World Health Organization (WHO), there is no doubt that polymer fibrous membranes like filters or masks against COVID-19 are currently one of the most demanded product ever [1]. With this respect, every alternative and environmentally friendly fabrication method should be seriously considered. Among the most attractive methods for fabrication of the nanofibrous membranes belongs electrospinning, which is a facile and effective approach for forming fine fibers in the micro- up to nanometers scale under the application of electric field. This method offers the possibility to prepare fibrous polymer products from synthetic or natural polymers or from virgin and consumed polymers (plastic wastes) as well. Electrospun products have already been studied for many applications such as wound healing [2], tissue engineering [3], drug-releasing and drug target delivery systems [4], sensors [5], membranes [6], batteries [7], solar cells [8], catalysts [9], protecting clothing [10]. However, the randomly placed ultrafine fibers in the electrospun membranes, the high surface area to volume ratios, nano-porosity, good mechanical properties, and vapor permeability of such membranes pre-destined them for using in filtration [11].

In our study the nanofibrous membranes based on recycled polyethylene terephthalate (r-PET) and r-PET/silk fibroin (SF) prepared by electrospinning were studied as alternative facemasks. The effect of SF on morphology, fibers diameters, wettability, and chemical structure, mechanical and thermal properties were investigated. Filtration efficiency (FE), filtration performance represented by quality factor (Qf) were calculated from measurement of penetration through the membranes using di-ethylhexyl-sebacat (DEHS) aerosol particles ranging from 100 nm to 2.46 μm. Comfort properties such as air and water permeability were determined as well. The antibacterial activity against bacteria Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli of selected fibrous membranes were evaluated. It was revealed that the filtration efficacy of designed nanofibrous membranes is high; while the filtration efficacy, air permeability and water vapor permeability depends on the basis weight of nonwoven membrane. The filtration efficacy is comparable with the respirators of FFP2 assessed according to EN 149 + A1. In our presentation will be shown that the antibacterial membranes were obtained.

This research was funded by the Scientific Grant Agency of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic under project no. VEGA 2/0135/19. The present work was also supported by the Slovak Research and Development Agency under contracts no. APVV 18-0420 and no. APVV 19-0250 and through project SAS-MOST JRP 2019/07.
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