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Fire – and microbe-proof curtains

Researchers from the University of São Paulo (USP), the Federal University of ABC (UFABC), and the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP) worked with the company BR Goods to develop a material capable of killing viruses, bacteria, and fungi, in addition to being fire retardant, for use in hospital curtains. “The curtains manufactured by the company were already fire retardant. Our challenge was to add other functionalities,” UFABC chemist Luciano Avallone, leader of the project, told Agência FAPESP. The new curtains are made of a polymer-based fiber that contains silver nanoparticles and titanium, magnesium, and zinc oxides. Despite using so many different elements, the scientists were able to preserve the desired physical and chemical properties. Usually, the greater the number of compounds involved, the weaker the polymer. Preliminary results were considered positive. “Now we are going to move on to the second phase of the research, in which we will make adaptations with a focus on product development,” Avallone said.