If a respiratory droplet from a individual contaminated with COVID-19 lands on a surface, it turns into a potential supply of illness unfold. This is named the fomite route of illness unfold, through which the aqueous section of the respiratory droplet serves as a medium for virus survival.
The lifespan of the respiratory droplet dictates how possible a surface is to unfold a virus. While 99.9% of the droplet’s liquid content material evaporates inside a couple of minutes, a residual skinny movie that enables the virus to survive can be left behind.
This raises the query: Is it potential to design surfaces to cut back the survival time of viruses, together with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19? In Physics of Fluids, from AIP Publishing, IIT Bombay researchers current their work exploring how the evaporation fee of residual skinny movies can be accelerated by tuning surfaces’ wettability and creating geometric microtextures on them.
An optimally designed surface will make a viral load decay quickly, rendering it much less possible to contribute to the unfold of viruses.
“In terms of physics, the solid-liquid interfacial energy is enhanced by a combination of our proposed surface engineering and augmenting the disjoining pressure within the residual thin film, which will speed drying of the thin film,” mentioned Sanghamitro Chatterjee, lead writer and a postdoctoral fellow in the mechanical engineering division.
The researchers have been shocked to uncover that the mixture of a surface’s wettability and its bodily texture decide its antiviral properties.
“Continuously tailoring any one of these parameters wouldn’t achieve the best results,” mentioned Amit Agrawal, a co-author. “The most conductive antiviral effect lies within an optimized range of both wettability and texture.”
While earlier research reported antibacterial results by designing superhydrophobic (repels water) surfaces, their work signifies antiviral surface design can be achieved by surface hydrophilicity (attracts water).
“Our present work demonstrates that designing anti-COVID-19 surfaces is possible,” mentioned Janini Murallidharan, a co-author. “We also propose a design methodology and provide parameters needed to engineer surfaces with the shortest virus survival times.”
The researchers found that surfaces with taller and intently packed pillars, with a contact angle of round 60 levels, present the strongest antiviral impact or shortest drying time.
This work paves the approach for fabricating antiviral surfaces that can be helpful in designing hospital tools, medical or pathology tools, in addition to steadily touched surfaces, like door handles, smartphone screens, or surfaces inside areas inclined to outbreaks.
“In the future, our model can readily be extended to respiratory diseases like influenza A, which spread through fomite transmission,” mentioned Rajneesh Bhardwaj, a co-author. “Since we analyzed antiviral effects by a generic model independent of the specific geometry of texture, it’s possible to fabricate any geometric structures based on different fabrication techniques — focused ion beams or chemical etching — to achieve the same outcome.”
Materials offered by American Institute of Physics. Note: Content might be edited for model and size.