Scientists creating new systems to deal with spread of biological threats

NRL scientists are in the process of creating unique systems aimed at the spontaneous decontamination of a variety of chemical and biological threats.

The systems, which incorporate functional additives like quaternary ammonium salt biocides, polyoxometalates, fullernes and phthalocyanines capable of neutralizing chemical and biological agents, are meant to address the growing threat of chemical and biological agents.

"Some of our previous work has utilized the incorporation of small amounts of these decontaminating agents into paints and coatings," James Wynne, the section head of Applied Concepts in Materials Section of the Chemistry Division at NRL, said. "Due to the promising decontamination performance the coatings experienced against a variety of pathogens and chemical agents, we are now extending the additive-derived decontamination capacity to include materials that cannot be painted or coated, such as polymer nano- and microfibers that can be utilized for a variety of applications such as garments."

Polymers created through the use of electrospinning, which uses an electrical charge to draw very fine fibers from a liquid to fabricate nearly monodisperse fiber, could lead to applications such as air and water filters that self-decontaminate against deadly pathogens.