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Cellulose-based triboelectric filters for airborne particles (Tribofilter)

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The project aims to design and investigate a novel cellulose-based filter material with high particle retention and low-pressure drop based on triboelectric effect. The  developed material is thought to act as a self-charging electrofilter that retains polluting  particles harmful to humans.Air pollution caused by particulate matters (PMs) has raised serious concerns due to their threats to public health and safety. In many developing countries, industrial production/heating, fossil-fueled automobiles and the wearing of tires and road pavings by the traffic are the main sources of PM. To secure safe and clean air, the design of highly efficient filters in line with sustainable development goals are crucial to capture the PMs that cause illness and deaths in respiratory diseases and cancer. Oil-based filter materials are today used in protective filters. Such materials have limited filtering  capability due to the lack of functional groups in the filtering materials, causing secondary environmental pollution since they are not environmentally friendly. Needless to say about their technological drawbacks e.g. high cost, energy demand, and not environmentally friendly production processes. We propose a new air filter concept based on cellulose designed to obtain an optimal triboelectric effect by frictional self-charging. Materials with high charge density promote polarization of droplets and particles and subsequent electrostatic trapping is possible. Equally high or even higher filter efficiency can be achieved with cellulose. This gives lower energy consumption in ventilation/ fresh air cleaning systems. The use of cellulose instead of fossil-based synthetic polymers in filter applications would benefit from national self-sufficiency, cost, and waste management.

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