A new filter can capture many times its weight in hazardous air pollution while letting air and light pass through easily using nanofibers. So the material is made of a polymer called polyacrylonitrile. Consequently it’s the same ingredient used to make acrylic yarns for clothing. As well as some boat sails and surgical gloves. Using a fiber-pulling process called electrospinning, the liquid polymer converts into nanofibers. As a result, each nanofiber is thousand times thinner than a human hair.
The Stanford University engineers say its surface chemistry and the positioning of the fibers. These are the engineers that made it. Therefore that’s what lets it absorb. However it absorbs more than 95 percent of the smallest particulate matter (PM) in air pollution. All the while remaining 90 percent transparent.
The nanofiber keeps accumulating particles. It collects 10 times its own weight. These comments came from Chong Liu. Chong is a materials science and engineering graduate student and lead author of a paper published in the journal Nature Communications. She adds the lifespan of its effectiveness depends on application. So in its current form, their tests suggest it collects particles for probably a week.
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Top two gifs created from video courtesy of Stanford University. Bottom gif created from video courtesy Liu et al./Nature Communications