The Amrita N96 Nano ‘Made in India’ Mask by scientists of the Centre for Nanosciences and Molecular Medicine at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham has been launched in India. The cost-effective mask is said to offer “superior filtration and breathability” than the conventional N95 and surgical masks. It is available to purchase on Flipkart at Rs 179 (pack of three) and can be washed up to 30 times to reuse. The official Flipkart listing highlights that the Amrita N96 Nano Mask comprises a “unique nanoengineered filter fabricated with electrospun polycaprolactone (PCL) nanofibers with diameter 240 nm.” It is said to offer high particle filtration efficiency of 96% without compromising breathability – the two important hallmarks of a facial mask.
Explaining how the mask works, Dr Deepthy Menon from Nanosciences, Centre for Nanosciences and Molecular Medicine at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, said in a statement, “These layers [on the Amrita N96 Nano Mask], made of cloth derived from polypropylene fibre, enclose nano-fibre membrane between them. The unique hydrophobic nature of this membrane completely blocks the passage of micro-droplets and water aerosols from one side of the layer to the other. This is what protects the wearer from breathing respiratory micro-droplets exhaled by another person and getting infected. This washable, durable and reusable mask ensures 99.9 percent bacterial and virus aerosol filtration.”
In terms of design, the Amrita N96 Nano Mask features a no-frill design and is more akin to a surgical mask with blue colour fabric. The ear-hoops are made of elastic to ensure a perfect fit regardless of face-type. The Amrita N96 Nano Mask is also claimed to be tested by the South India Textile Research Association (SITRA), the leading laboratory backed by the Union Ministry of Textiles to test masks and PPEs in the country. Dr Shantikumar Nair who is Dean (Research) with Centre for Nanosciences & Molecular Medicine added that the unique N96 Nano Mask is “far ahead of conventional surgical and N95 masks” in providing protection to the wearer.