UofL college students serving to manufacture reusable N95-style masks

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, researchers at the University of Louisville’s Conn Center for Renewable Energy focused on making masks. Mahendra Sunkara is a director at the Conn Center. The researchers teamed up with Advanced Energy Materials (ADEM), a UofL spin-off company founded by Sunkara, to develop and patent the technology. “The original idea was to extend the life of N95 masks,” said Sunkara. Typically these are N95 masks. UofL’s N95-style masks are intended for single use. However, they use a unique inorganic nanowire mesh that can be washed and reused multiple times – and can filter up to 0.1 micrometers in the process. “You can disinfect it simply by washing it in water,” Sunkara said. A handful of students from UofL Speed ​​School help make the masks, including Senior Luke Loughran. “I work on the machines. I work on fully aligning and automating the machines,” Loughran said when Loughran started in the fall semester , they made the masks by hand. “It took us two weeks to do a thousand for UofL until now that we can do a few thousand every day. It was honestly amazing.” Said Loughran. You can now manu make up to 50 masks per minute through a new company called AdhviQ, which is on UofL’s campus. The inexpensive, washable and reusable masks can be purchased online for the public. Each mask can be washed up to five times. The researchers hope to use the technology in other areas such as home HVAC systems. “We have the chance to make an even bigger impact. I didn’t think I’d go that far at the beginning.” It is personally very enjoyable, “said Sunkara. Loughran says that not only does he influence people’s lives, but he also provides invaluable practical experience with the project.” My problem solving skills are much better. I can take a look at the problem now and mechanically or electrically find out what the problem is and what I should be doing to solve the problem, “Loughran said. AdhviQ has submitted the masks for FDA approval.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, researchers at the University of Louisville’s Conn Center for Renewable Energy focused on making masks.

Mahendra Sunkara is the director at the Conn Center. Researchers teamed up with Advanced Energy Materials (ADEM), a UofL subsidiary founded by Sunkara, to develop and patent the technology.

“The original idea was to extend the life of N95 masks,” said Sunkara.

Typically, N95 masks are intended for single use, but UofL’s N95 masks use a unique inorganic nanowire fabric that can be washed and reused multiple times – while filtering up to 0.1 micron.

“You can easily disinfect it just by washing it in water,” Sunkara said.

A handful of students from the UofL Speed ​​School help make the masks, including senior Luke Loughran.

“I’m working on the machines. I’m working on fully aligning and automating the machines,” said Loughran.

When Loughran started in the fall semester, they made the masks by hand.

“It took us two weeks to make a thousand for UofL until now that we can make a few thousand every day. It was honestly amazing,” said Loughran.

They can now make up to 50 masks per minute through a new company called AdhviQ, which is on UofL’s campus. The inexpensive, washable, and reusable masks can be bought by the public on-line. Each mask can be washed up to five times.

The researchers hope to use the technology in other areas such as home HVAC systems.

“We have a chance to make an even bigger impact. I didn’t think I’d go as far as I started with it. It’s personally very gratifying,” said Sunkara.

According to Loughran, not only does it affect people’s lives, it is also invaluable.

“My problem-solving skills are much better. I can look at the problem now and mechanically or electrically figure out what the problem is and what I should do to solve the problem,” said Loughran.

AdhviQ has submitted the masks for FDA approval.