Nanostructured Polymer-inorganic Fiber Media for Filtration of Chemical Aerosols and Vapors

Background:The technology of air purification has had few major advancements since WWI. Contaminated air is mainly treated by carbon-based material such as activated charcoal which has served as the primary material for air purification and is still the material of choice by the military. However current battlefield conditions and threats from terrorist attacks on domestic sites demand new filtration media for personal protective equipment (PPE) and air purification. These filters can be used in PPE vehicles and fixed site shelters significantly strengthening protection levels against chemical and biological weapons. In contrast with charcoal nanofiber media are a good candidate for next generation filtering devices. However existing polymeric nanofiber media lack stability in the presence of chemical aerosols that behave as plasticizers such as chemical warfare agents (CWAs) and toxic industrial chemicals (TICs).Technology Description:A recent technology developed at NC State University offers a new platform to capture and decompose CWAs and TICs. It accomplishes this by modifying nanofibers with nanoscale chemistries to create metal oxide and hybrid organic/inorganic structures. The nanoscale enhancement has two advantages: improved nanofiber stability and additional filtering of CWAs and TICs without adding any burden to the user of the filtration device. The organic/inorganic composite coating acts as a barrier to dissolution protecting the fiber mats by either laying directly on top of the fiber media or by substantially encapsulating all the fibers within the mat. This barrier layer is produced using common deposition methods such as atomic layer deposition molecular layer deposition vapor phase infiltration and sequential vapor infiltration. The barrier layer can also contain materials that increase the fiber media\\\'s chemical resistance and/or chemical reactivity. In the latter case components in the barrier layer can react with toxins to reduce them to benign species.Applications:1) Filtration of Chemical Aerosols and Vapors

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