The COVID-19 pandemic presents a unique challenge to the healthcare community due to the high infectivity rate and need for effective personal protective equipment. Zinc oxide nanoparticles have shown promising antimicrobial properties and are recognized as a safe additive in many food and cosmetic products. This work presents a novel nanocomposite synthesis approach, which allows zinc oxide nanoparticles to be grown within textile and face mask materials, including melt-blown polypropylene and nylon-cotton. The resulting nanocomposite achieves greater than 3 log10 reduction (≥ 99.9%) in coronavirus titer within a contact time of 10 min, by disintegrating the viral envelope. The new nanocomposite textile retains activity even after 100 laundry cycles and has been dermatologist tested as non-irritant and hypoallergenic. Various face mask designs were tested to improve filtration efficiency and breathability while offering antiviral protection, with Claros’ design reporting higher filtration efficiency than surgical masks (> 50%) for particles ranged 200 nm to 5 µm in size.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering


The authors are grateful for the financial support of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Hatch project 1006789, and the Schwan Food Company Graduate Fellowship (A. Abbas), the USDA Small Business Innovation Research grant #2020-33610-32483, and US Army Department of Defense Small Business Technology Transfer grant #W911QY-19-P-0180 (Claros Technologies Inc.). Parts of this work were performed under a contract with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (#75D30121C10530), entitled “Functional Antiviral Masks for Protection Against COVID-19”.

The work presented here is the subject of an International Patent Application No. PCT/US2016/056850 and US Patent Application No. 63/123,814 “Antimicrobial and Antiviral Nanocomposite Sheets”.

Keywords and Phrases

Chemistry; Environmental, health and safety issues; Materials chemistry; Nanoparticles; Nanoscale materials

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Article - Journal

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Final Version

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Publication Date

21 Dec 2021