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Anti-fouling anti-fogging face shields utilizing liquid-like omniphobic coatings for COVID-19 healthcare providers

COVID-19 Research Area(s): Equipment & Technology Innovations

This project will upgrade the face shields used by medical professionals and first responders battling the COVID-19 pandemic. Face shields are a necessary form of PPE and currently provide the number 1 defence against the virus. However, face shields are routinely fouled by patient spray (cough, sneeze, exhale, etc.) and require frequency cleaning and disinfecting. In addition, the inner-side of the shield is prone to fogging from the user's breath. This project will solve both issues by developing advanced coatings that can be easily and efficiently applied to the face shields. UBC Okanagan has teamed up with local safety products manufacturer PRE Labs for this endeavour. PRE Labs currently has shifted operations and is producing in excess of 1000 face shields per day.

The anti-fouling coatings are based on a revolutionary new technology that incorporates liquid-like coatings that are bonded to surfaces, i.e. coatings that benefit from the inherent advantages of both liquid and solid coatings. PRE Labs and UBCO have been developing these coatings for the last two years, for coveralls and PPE garments, and this project will optimize the proven technology for face shields. In addition, an anti-fogging layer will be developed for the inner-side of the face shield, and one that is already part of the coating process of the liquid-like coatings.

PRE Labs has stressed that, as export markets re-open and face shield manufacturers become more commonplace, it is vital to support made-in-Canada PPE solutions that offer increased protection from COVID-19. This project will rapidly develop such a technology for all Canadians.