IIT Delhi has a start-up called ETEX which is used for designing and developing smart textile solutions for healthcare. Taking into their notice unparalleled defies in supply of PPEs during the COVID-19 crisis, ETEX has launched an inexpensive and effective face mask, KAWACH, for protecting and safeguarding people from the risk of the big pandemic COVID-19.
The product efficiency was tested with the strong technical inputs from the core textile team in the Department of Textile and Fibre Engineering, IIT Delhi. KAWACH mask is as good as N95 in terms of proper fitting, and engineered filtration layer that could put up to 98% filtration efficiency (3-micron size particle; ASTM F 2101). The mask price is set to be below Rs.45 so that it can reach masses to enrich their protection.
Their professor spoke on their achievement “India has several massive challenges ahead – disposal of PPEs (including mask and coveralls) after one-time use and ensuring the minimum use of nonwoven technology for making PPEs. Though a nonwoven layer is a must for ensuring the desired filtration level the loose fibrous structure makes the product disposable after one use. Disposing of synthetic polypropylene nonwoven could have a detrimental effect on the environment. Finding other textile solution that offers reusability, biodegradability, affordability, and scalability for PPEs is the need of the hour; this could ensure meeting both the demand and also safeguarding our environment.”
The team of IIT is also now working towards a new prototype design for the mask which can make it washable and reusable for at least 10 times. In this situation where the N-95 masks which are usually priced at Rs.150 are also sold in the market at a much higher rate than ranges up to RS.500 and above, this is revolutionary.
We wish more IITs and other science colleges will come up with better innovation in the coming days.