Since the beginning of COVID-19 epidemic in the Czech Republic a number of universities and institutes work on new technologies, methods and inventions that might help to fight the spread of disease. Technical University of Liberec and Czech Technical University in Prague have already presented their results, which are already produced and used in hospitals.
Technical University of Liberec – masks thanks to nanotechnology
Technical University of Liberec developed a new nanomaterial for face masks with the help of improved nanotechnology. The material used for masks is produced by using the method of electrostatic fibre production via alternating current. At the beginning of this week the university had two machines suitable for the new type of production and started producing the new material already in the test period. The created nanolayer, added to the non-woven underlying fabric, is cut and, subsequently, handed to the university’s improvised workshop where university employees sew all fabrics together in a way that the new nanofabric is inserted as a filter in between two fabric layers of the mask. The last model of nanofabric has effectivity 90%. It could be even more, but it would be impossible to breath in such a mask.
The capacity of the university workshop is however limited, but demand is so huge that the university cooperates with other local sewing workshops in order to maximize the volume of produced masks. The nanofabric is not for free sale and is delivered exclusively to the Liberec Region office, which coordinates the subsequent distribution and production thanks to many volunteers.
Czech Technical University in Prague – 3D printed respirator and all-face mask
Czech Technical University in Prague has invented two new medical devices to fight the coronavirus epidemic. The new protype of respirator labelled as “CIIRC RP95-3D“ was successfully granted a certificate of safety half mask with the protection class FFP3. The respirator needs a replaceable external filter and consist of exhalation valve, which makes it suitable for medical staff members. The invention was already tested in hospital Na Bulovce, which treats a number of COVID-19 patients, and it is supposed to function as a complete professional product according to strict norms and safety protocols. The respirator is 3D printed, can be produced anywhere in the world and can be used more than once.
The Health minister Adam Vojtěch commented on the university’s hard work: “We appreciate the mask created by Czech Technical University in Prague, because it may help us to protect the most endangered workers in the field. We have an agreement with the University and our suppliers to deliver 600 pieces by the end of the week.” The minister also suggested the planned volume in the future: “The plan is 500 masks a day since the beginning of April. At the same time everyone tries to come with a solution for increasing the production capacity to 10 thousand pieces a day. All subjects included in the production process are volunteers and only material for 3D print will be paid for.”
In addition to the 3D-printed respirator, the University also developed a new all-face mask using the military filter P3R with the effectivity 99,99% and more. Therefore, the filter is more effective than FFP3 and can be sterilised and used repeatedly. The current production volume is approximately 400 masks a day, which makes 2200 total in the first stage. Masks are made for medical staff members and doctors to whom they are delivered for free.