Development of Bioderived Alternatives to N95 Face Masks in a Remote Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experience
The high demand for N95 and surgical masks made of nonbiodegradable petroleum-based materials due to SARS-CoV-2 challenges the recycling industry and is proving to be unsustainable. Although woven fabric masks present a longer lifetime, they are less effective in protecting against viral particulates. Here, through an at-home course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE), we demonstrate that alginate and soy-based materials are attractive alternatives for mask fabrication: stacking calcium ion-cross-linked alginate films with soy protein isolate sheets enables electrostatic and size-exclusion filtration. State-of-the-art aerosol testing confirmed this conclusion. Furthermore, because our synthetic and at-home analytical approach relies on cheap, abundant, and food-grade materials, and requires no equipment beyond kitchenware, it has the potential to be broadly adopted for practical and educational purposes.
Development of Bioderived Alternatives to N95 Face Masks in a Remote Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experience Elizabeth E. Karlsson, Jia-Hao Hu, Michael J. Davern, Yidan Cong, Jin Yan, Jason D. Surratt, and Aleksandr V. Zhukhovitskiy Journal of Chemical Education 2022 99 (9), 3196-3202 DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.2c00532