Eco-friendly face masks developed by Khalifa University

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Khalifa University
Khalifa University

Khalifa University of Science and Technology announced that a team of researchers has successfully created the first working prototypes of NavaMASK, a completely ‘biodegradable’, ‘biocompatible’, environment-friendly and novel anti-viral adaptive face mask with nanofibers that will have significant anti-microbial properties.

The researchers have already requested a patent license for the bio-material of the mask.

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. أعلنت #جامعة_خليفة اليوم عن قيام فريق بحثي من الجامعة بتطوير أول نموذج فعال لـ "نافا ماسك"، وهي كمامة جديدة مضادة للفيروسات وصديقة للبيئة تم تطويرها من مواد بيولوجية وألياف نانوية تمنحها خصائص مضادة للميكروبات ذات فعالية. وقد سجل الباحثون براءة اختراع عن المواد البيولوجية المستخدمة في تطوير الكمامة.
تتيح كمامة "نافا ماسك" للأفراد إمكانية التنفس بسهولة، كما ويمكن غسلها وإعادة استخدامها عدة مرات. وتوفر الكمامة أيضاً ميزة التخلص الآمن منها بعد الانتهاء من استخدامها كونها تحظى بالقدرة على التحلل البيولوجي والتي تجعلها غير ضارة بالبيئة. #KhalifaUniversity of Science and Technology today announced a team of researchers has successfully developed the first working prototypes of NavaMASK, a fully ‘biodegradable’, ‘biocompatible’, environment-friendly and novel anti-viral adaptive face mask with nanofibers that will have strong anti-microbial properties. The researchers have already filed for a patent license for the mask’s bio-material.

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With good anti-microbial properties, NavaMask can deliver outstanding breathability and can be washed and reused many times before eventual disposal. Moreover, because of its biodegradability and biocompatibility, the mask has become the perfect candidate for safe environmental disposal.

The venture was the result of a cooperation between the University of Khalifa and the University of Salerno, Italy.

Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice-President, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, said: “The innovation of biodegradable NavaMask reflects not only Khalifa University’s continuous commitment to finding solutions that directly contribute to serving the society but also the result of the University’s funding of 14 research projects directly related to mitigating the pandemic”.

He further added, “This innovation reaffirms our research efforts to develop areas that focus on issues related to the community in general, especially those that help find a solution to COVID-19. Research initiatives at Khalifa University are directed by prominent faculty experts, with the help of state-of-the-art labs and advanced on-campus facilities.”

Prof. Vincenzo Loia, Rector, University of Salerno, Italy, said: “The University of Salerno has a consolidated experience in interdisciplinary research at an international level. The quality of our international research and its ability to serve the real needs of the society, yearly reconfirm the accreditation of the University of Salerno in prestigious academic rankings. NavaMask is an additional effective example of a research idea that was born in a laboratory capable to support accurately and promptly the big challenge associate to the complex period we are experiencing, combining innovation and environmental sustainability.”

Dr. Vincenzo Naddeo, Director, Sanitary Environmental Engineering Division, SEED, University of Salerno, Italy, said: “From early stages of the COVID19 outbreak, the SEED of the University of Salerno has promptly reconverted the laboratory activities to support national industries in the testing of respiratory devices according to international standards. Since March 2020, the SEED becomes one of the first official hubs for face mask testing in Italy and Europe”.

Dr. Naddeo added that, in response to the high demand for safe face masks from society and governments, NavaMask is a creative and sustainable solution. Our field experience has helped to refine a new biodegradable filtration material that will be useful in developing the next generation of face masks.

Dr. Shadi W. Hasan, Associate Professor and Theme Lead, Center for Membranes and Advanced Water Technology, CMAT, Dr. Faisal Al Marzooqi, Assistant Professor, Prof. Fawzi Banat, Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering, and Dr. Musthafa Mavukkandy, Post-Doctoral Researcher, Chemical Engineering, are heading the initiative at Khalifa University of Science and Technology.

Dr. Shadi W. Hasan said that NavaMask was envisaged by the team in the belief that an environmentally friendly alternative to the currently available face masks was necessary while retaining the highest levels of protection and breathability for humans.



Full biodegradable filtration materials have been carefully chosen to provide adequate protection, to prevent skin irritation and, above all, to be safe for our environment. The face mask will have nanofibers with a diameter ranging from 100 to 600 nm arranged perpendicularly to move air through but will reject particles, bacteria, and viruses. Its powerful anti-microbial properties will ensure the removal efficiency of bacteria by 99 percent, so it is expected that NavaMask will compete and exceed all of the current facemasks on the market.

Dr. Musthafa Mavukkandy said that multiple optimization experiments were performed to capture the correct recipe of all bio-material ingredients for the filtration of the face mask.

Researchers at Khalifa University are currently preparing to launch Phase II, which will attempt to implement a new NavaMask second-generation design and retain high removal performance, high comfort, easier breathing, and fewer layers. Most significantly, it will represent the efforts of the UAE to advance the innovation sector.