MME Professor and Executive Director of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology,Sushanta K. Mitra and Kiran Raj Melayil, a Post Doctoral Fellow at the Micro Nano-Scale Transport Lab, are working toward a better understanding of droplet dynamics on face masks to gain insight into the transmission mechanics of COVID-19. Their research is a promising step toward safer and more effective face mask designs for the public.
Melayil and Mitra found that there was no significant difference in the impact dynamics between the front and back sides of the masks, however the front sides had an advantage for repelling droplets in terms of the contact angle and adhesion force measurements. It was also found that although superhydrophobic coating is effective in repelling droplets, it also causes the formation of daughter droplets which may be counterproductive to reducing the transmission of airborne viruses. Read more on the ACS Publications website.
Professor Mitra has been working on other research related to COVID-19, including the development of a surface coating that will kill COVID-19 on impact.