UH professor works to repel COVID-19 droplets from the air

Thursday, November 12, 2020
HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The idea came to University of Houston Physics Professor Seamus Curran, as he listened to his wife's concerns about how to keep their kids safe at school.

"My wife turned around to me and said, 'Our kids have to go back to school. How do we make it safe for them to go back to school and remove the virus from the air?'", Curran said.

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That was the inspiration for him to create a hydrophobic material, or a liquid that repels water, that could be applied to air filters you find in your home or public buildings.

The thought is this liquid, when dried on the filter, could help repel the microscopic droplets of water in the air that are believed to be the way COVID-19 is spreading.

"The problem we have is that indoors, the virus is able to travel a lot further," Curran said.

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Curran believes his creation could hugely benefit schools, hospitals and public buildings -- places he believes should continue to stay open and operating amid this pandemic.

He explains that the virus would essentially be blocked as it tries to pass through an air filter treated with his special liquid, leaving the virus to decay and disappear on the air filter. This process, he estimates, would take about 40 minutes.

"The city of New York is looking to adopt our technology," Curran said.

Third party testing was completed by the city of New York and they are in discussion to implement the filter in a number of places.

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