Chattanooga Engineers Club

CEC joint meeting - Material Science behind the N95 Respirator

  • 9 Nov 2020
  • 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
  • online

CEC online meeting with TN-China Network

Dr. Peter Tsai, retired professor at UTK Engineering and Material Science, came to U.S. from Taiwan in 1981 to study at Kansas State University, Tsai went on to earn a doctorate in material science after completing over 500 credits in a variety of subjects, such as engineering and other sciences. Tsai followed his professor from Kansas State University to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and became a professor.  He retired from teaching in 2018.

The N-95 is actually a respirator and not a mask. 'N' stands for 'Not resistant to Oil' and '95' indicates a filtering efficiency equivalent to or more than 95% challenged with Sodium Chloride particles of a specific particulate diameter (0.3 microns).

Dr Tsai's N95 filter media was filed in 1992 and patented in 1995.

COVID-19 put one of  Dr. Tsai's inventions into the spotlight. He is the creator of the filter material inside most disposable N95 respirators. As the pandemic worsened, health care workers nationwide needed the masks to stay safe.

The shortage brought Tsai out of retirement to solve the crisis. Since mid-March, Tsai worked to find new ways to sterilize disposable respirators for reuse and rapidly scaling up their production.  Some of his work included improving filtering efficiency of the masks. 

Please join us to find out more about the material science and engineering behind the N95 respirators.

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