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Polylactic Acid/Calcium Stearate Hydrocharging Melt-Blown Nonwoven Fabrics for Respirator Applications

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-05, 18:03 authored by Rui Hu, Qiwei Huang, Gaohui Liu, Wenling Jiao, Qi Yang, Xianfeng Wang, Jianyong Yu, Bin Ding
Non-biodegradable polypropylene, which poses a serious threat to the environment, is the most utilized material in air filtration systems. Moreover, under conditions of high temperature and high humidity, the electrostatic charge in melt-blown nonwoven fabrics treated with traditional corona electrets will quickly dissipate. Here, biodegradable polylactic acid, calcium stearate, and an innovative hydrocharging technique are reported to develop environmentally friendly polylactic acid/calcium stearate hydrocharging melt-blown nonwoven fabrics with high charge stability. Compared with polylactic acid melt-blown nonwoven fabrics, the crystallization structure and charge storage of polylactic acid/calcium stearate melt-blown nonwoven fabrics have been greatly improved due to the presence of calcium stearate. In PM0.3, it exhibited a high filtration efficiency (96.78%), a low pressure drop (65.20 Pa), and a good quality factor (0.053 Pa–1), which can meet the N95 respirator standard. Furthermore, it is worth mentioning that the filtration performance remained at a high level (>95.00%) after 2 months. Importantly, based on the test and analysis of surface electrostatic potential, crystallization, and charge storage and distribution, we proposed plausible charge generation and stable storage mechanisms. It demonstrated more potential for electret air filtration and smart respirators as the further possible step of research in the field.

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