Covid-19: IIT Madras startup eyes special method for coating textiles for PPEs
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras-backed startup, Muse Wearables, is developing novel and scalable methods for coating textiles with nanoparticles-based antimicrobial agents that can inactivate the human coronavirus on contact, the institute announced on Monday.
These coatings are expected to be effective up to 60 wash cycles, thereby making the textiles re-usable. The coated textiles can be primarily used to manufacture N95 masks, surgical masks, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and food packaging bags, among others, with inherent properties of inactivating the coronavirus.
Muse Wearables’ current pilot machine can coat textiles of length up to 100 metres within a few minutes, thereby making it a viable commercial solution that can be deployed immediately.
Muse Wearables was incubated by IIT Madras Incubation Cell. Startup incubators are usually non-profit organisations that might be run by both public and private entities. Incubators are often associated with universities.
“Our startups are working on a range of products that are vital to India and its fight against Covid-19, from N95 masks to intubation boxes and ventilators to affordable testing kits. They have quickly mobilized and repurposed their offerings in response to the situation and are striving to make a positive contribution to the nation and its anti-virus efforts. IITM Incubation Cell continues to assist its startups through these challenging times and hopes that industry support will help them ramp up their efforts in a more meaningful way,” said Dr Tamaswati Ghosh, chief executive officer, IIT Madras Incubation Cell, in a statement.
Currently, Muse Wearables is assembling the coating machine and will shortly commence coating various textiles with different nanoparticle solutions. Their coated textiles is expected to be ready for testing by the first week of May 2020. The startup is also partnering with a mask manufacturing company to launch five-layered Antiviral N95 Masks.
“Our solution tries to solve the current pandemic problem at the root level by inactivating coronavirus permanently. As soon as it comes in contact with the coated nanoparticles, its structure is permanently destroyed by the nanoparticles. For example, people using masks made by our coated textiles will not transmit the virus to others or have less chances of the virus getting transmitted to them,” said KLN Sai Prasanth, chief executive officer, Conzumex Industries, which operates the brand Muse Wearables.
“Our coating process is scalable, which means it can be deployed in any textile industry as a textile finishing process. The solution we are developing are not confined to a research laboratory but can be used for commercial purposes,” he added.
What’s the big deal about nano-particle coated textile?
*Anti-microbial properties: it continuously captures and destroys viruses and other microbes upon contact
*Other viruses as small as 30 nanometre can also be inactivated permanently
*Does not leach while washing in water and is environment-friendly
*At present can be coated on cotton, polyester and cotton–polyester
*More fabrics will be tested soon
*Non-toxic; can be safely used for making masks and other PPE