COVID-19: IIT Delhi researchers develop affordable PPE coverall that reaches adequate levels of breathability

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New Delhi: COVID-19, the ongoing pandemic, is spreading across the globe and has resulted in the death of over three lakh people, so far, while many infected with the virus are undergoing treatment.
Amidst the COVID-19 crisis IIT Delhi’s Department of Textile and Fibre Engineering is actively involved in the development of high-functional and specialty textile materials and has successfully commercialised products, for the national interest.
The Department has now widened its spectrum in developing the technology for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Coverall (Integrated Body Suit and Shoe Cover), for the protection of the doctors, nurses, paramedical staff and others, who are involved in the treatment of coronavirus infected patients.
Dr. S.M. Ishtiaque, Professor Emeritus, Department of Textile and Fibre Engineering, IIT Delhi and his student, Dr. Biswa Ranjan Das, Scientist ‘D’ & Assistant Director, DMSRDE (DRDO), Kanpur, have developed an advanced version of PPE coverall, which meets the criteria specified by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.
“The advanced version of PPE coverall that we have developed is set to emerge as an improvised product in the national and international markets, bestowing several special functional features, to meet requirements for added comfort. Breathability and feel of the coverall has been a major challenge and we have ensured we reach adequate levels of breathability and a softer feel, to support extended wearability,” said Dr. S. M. Ishtiaque, Professor Emeritus, Department of Textile and Fibre Engineering, IIT Delhi.
The salient features of the advanced level PPE Coverall, developed by Dr. S.M. Ishtiaque include:
• Special coating and treatment formulation, applied over very light and compact polyester woven fabric, which has permitted to maintain the weight of PPE coverall to 300 gm against commercially available 400-500 gm.
• Complete protection against penetration of coronavirus (meets the requirements of MoHFW; ISO 16603).
• Excellent anti-bacterial property (more than 99.5% reduction; AATCC 100: 2012) and such feature is not available in most of the commercially available PPE coveralls.
• Special grade PU coating, providing very smooth surface feel and adequate clothing breathability, which provide comfort to user [BS: 7209 (1990)]. This feature is not available with other commercially available PPE coveralls.
• The outer face of the coverall displays excellent water repellency (rating = 90) and oil repellency (10/10), hence the coronavirus falling over the fabric rolls off with ease.
• It can be reused three times; hence, the effective cost is very low, compared to others.
• Available in four sizes (both Body Suit – S, M, L & XL and Shoe Cover – 1, 2, 3 & 4) to fit the complete range of users, as opposed to Universal/ Limited size in commercially available coverall.
The researchers have collaborated with G. D. International (an ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certified company, with more than 38 years of experience in technical textiles) to produce 1,20,000 coveralls/ month.