Texas Tech University researchers claim they could have discovered a polyurethane nanofibre technique that can save lives.

 

Dr Seshadri Ramkumar, assistant professor at The Institute of Environmental and Human Health at Texas Tech, and graduate student Thandavamoorthy Subbiah have developed a honeycomb polyurethane nanofabric by using electrospinning.

 

The nanofabric, created by exposing polyurethane to high voltage, can trap toxic chemicals, making it suitable for use in a hazardous material suit.

 

Ramkumar and Subbiah came up with the discovery during a project that took about two years to complete, Ramkumar told just-style.

 

The findings are featured in the 5 Sept edition of the Journal of Applied Polymer Science. The project was supported by the US federal funds.

 

"These fibres are tiny," Ramkumar said. "They're about 1,000 times smaller than microfibres. We are able to develop honeycomb-like structures with this method, which makes a mesh within a mesh.

 

"This may not only provide increased surface area, but also can trap toxic chemicals more efficiently."

 

He added that the fibres hadn't yet been tested for their protection capacity but said they could be used in protective clothing and were suitable for trapping chemical warfare agents.

 

"The next phase of the work is to evaluate its adsorption and protection capabilities," Ramkumar told just-style.