Respiratory masks are individual protection devices of high strategic value of national and international stakes in the fight against viral bacterial and fungial diseases. Classical respiratory masks used for the protection of civil population and medical staff are adapted for efficiently filtrate aerosols (fine dusts, microdroplets) that respond to norms (FFP1, FFP2, FFP3). Their functionality is based on the entrapment of microorganisms vectorized by aerosols of 15µm size. They are made of textile layers with different structures, whose external ones ensure the rigidity of the mask, and inner ones ensure air filtration. However after use, disposable masks become themselves hazardous wastes that can themselves be sources of contamination. Hence, combining filtration properties with neutralization of microorganisms trapped in the filter structure would be a relevant solution. This is why TELEMASQ project is proposing to incorporate a supplementary biocide textile layer for the neutralization of the microorganism 1) to strengthen the protective activity of the mask ; 2) to solve this problem of potential latent contamination by the waste masks. In TELEMASQ, this biocidal layer will be manufactured by electrospinning, a raising technology in the industry for the elaboration of nonwoven structures based on nanofibers (NFs) displaying high specific surfaces, high porosity and low pore size in the sub-micrometric range. Strategy will consist to electrospin a solution that will contain a matricial polymer (polyvinyl alcohol, PVA) and an anti-infectious agent for the manufacture of filtering biocide nanofibrous membranes. The process parameters of electrospinning will be adjusted for optimization of the filtering and biocidal performances through a systematic study of the influence of solution (solutes formulation, concentration, viscosity etc.), instruments settings (flow, voltage, distance needle to collector), and ambience (relative humidity and temperature). The NFs will be composed principally not only of a PVA matrix and biocide agent (commercial alkyl ammonium) and also of cyclodextrins for their complexing ability (inclusion complex formation) toward the biocide agent, that will contribute to the retention and liberation of the biocide from the NFs. The NFs will be prepared and characterized by SEM, DSC, FTIR and mechanical tests in UMET. The cytocompatibility, release profiles of the biocide bu NFs and evaluation of the microbiological properties (S aureus,E. coli) will be realized in INSERM U 1008, while virucide activity will be evaluated in the laboratory of virology of the CHU of Lille (Hospital Center of Lille) as a service provider. The air permeability of individual and multilayer textile structures will be assessed by the Central Pharmacy Centre of the CHU of Lille. Electrospun membranes will be realize at the pilot scale on the electropsinning device of UMET that will be upgraded for the production of rolled membranes of 40cm width that will be used for the production of masks prototypes. The objective is to reach within 18 months of the project to a technology ready for technology transfer toward a respiratory masks manufacturer after consideration of the industrial property (TRL4-5).
Monsieur Bernard Martel (Unité des Matériaux et Transformations)
The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.
UMET Unité des Matériaux et Transformations
Help of the ANR 196,668 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: April 2020 - 18 Months