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NUS researchers invent liquid to turn window screens into PM2.5 filters

When applied to non-woven mesh and left to dry overnight, the nanofibre-based solution can filter out up to 90 per cent of PM2.5 particles, says NUS.  

SINGAPORE: Researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS) have come up with an eco-friendly and cost-effective solution to guard against PM2.5 particles.

The liquid solution was made through modifying phthalocyanine, a chemical compound commonly used in dyes for clothes. When applied to non-woven mesh and left to dry overnight, it acts as an air filter that is able to remove up to 90 per cent of PM2.5 particles, the researchers said.

During testing, researchers also found that it allowed air flow two-and-a-half times better than that of N95 masks currently available on the market.

Assistant Professor Tan Swee Ching, who heads the research team, said high-efficiency air filters were often not suitable to be incorporated in doors and windows as they required multiple layers of microfibres or nanofibres, thus limiting their transparency.

"The see-through air filter developed using our approach has promising applications in terms of improving indoor air quality and could be especially useful for countries experiencing haze or high pollution levels," he said. 

The researchers said that applying the solution to a non-woven mesh to place on windows is an eco-friendly solution compared to air purifiers which require energy to run. 

The NUS team has filed a patent for the invention and said they will look at adding more functions such as anti-bacterial properties.

The invention could hit the market in one to two years if the team manages to obtain industry collaboration. As it does not require specialised equipment to create, researchers said they do not foresee the commercial cost to be high. 

In the long run, the team said, they hope to create a do-it-yourself kit similar to printer ink cartridges for consumers to create their own air filters at home.