Development of Carbon-Nanodot-Loaded PLA Nanofibers and Study of Their Barrier Performance for Medical Applications
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the usage of personal protective equipment (PPE) all round the world and, in turn, it has also increased the waste caused by disposable PPE. This has exerted a severe environmental impact, so in our work, we propose the utilization of a sustainable electrospun nanofiber based on poly lactic acid (PLA), as it is biobased and conditionally degradable. We optimized the weight percentage of the PLA-precursor solution and found that 19% PLA produces fine nanofibers with good morphology. We also introduced carbon nanodots (CNDs) in the nanofibers and evaluated their antibacterial efficiency. We used 1, 2, 3, and 4% CNDs with 19% PLA and found increased antibacterial activity with increased concentrations of CNDs. Additionally, we also applied a spunbond-nanofiber layered assembly for the medical face masks and found that with the addition of only 0.45 mg/cm 2 on the nonwoven sheet, excellent particle filtration efficiency of 96.5% and a differential pressure of 39 Pa/cm 2 were achieved, meeting the basic requirements for Type I medical face masks (ASTM-F2100).