August 2, 2021

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Barcelona university uses 3D printer to make recyclable face covers out of discarded masks

A team of researchers are making face masks using recycled particles from disposable surgical masks, as seen at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia in Barcelona on Friday.

The recycling of discarded masks begins with ultraviolet sterilisation, before being reduced to polypropylene granules for further processing.

These granules can be carbonised with potassium hydroxide or phosphoric acid activator to obtain highly porous activated carbon, and be processed and used to create a plastic filament to make a new mask using a 3D printer.

“We made the recycling from the surgical mask, the first step is to make the filament of the mask which we can use for the 3D printing and after that, we make one protector biofilm which we put inside the silver oxide and the cerium nanoparticles which have the possibility for the anti-bacterial and anti-viral [filter],” explained Serafin Jaroslaw, a researcher of the project.

“So now we have a prototype which needs working. We made the test but still we need to make more for the certification for the European Union. It’s a non-profit project so we need some investors which can help us obtain the certification,” Jaroslaw added.

The recycled masks will cost 1 euro (1,21 USD; 0.87 GBP), the researcher said.

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