Publish Date: 2nd June 2020

Interview@IITD: Dr. S M Ishtiaque

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Department of Textile and Fibre Engineering at IIT Delhi has developed a breathable and light-weighted PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to fight COVID-19. Professor Dr SM Ishtiaque along with his PhD student, Biswa Ranjan Das have developed an advanced version of PPE.

In an interview Dr Ishtiaque talks to Vanita Srivastava of the Communication Cell about the product, the target production, post COVID strategy for the product and more.

Edited excerpts:

When did you first get the idea for these PPEs?

The concept and idea for the Covid-19 PPE Coverall is extrapolated from the already established technology used for the Surgical Gowns. The Surgical Gowns are consisting of two-layer clothing; (a) outer layer of disposable cotton cloth possessing antibacterial property and developed in very lighter colour for indication of the blood drop penetration and very much permeable and (b) inner layer is fabricated with impermeable film for complete protection of penetration of bacteria and virus. However, the concept of outer layer permeability turned out to be ineffective, as the next to skin layer (inner layer) is highly impermeable. Hence, in our new invention, the target was to integrate the two layers to single layer with offering improved protection against penetration of coronavirus by sealing with hot blown adhesive tapes at the stitched lines and simultaneously, the fabric is developed with very special coating/treatment formulations to protect against the virus penetration and enhancement in the antibacterial activity and most importantly, possessing adequate breathability to offer clothing comfort. The developed PPE Coverall is reusable (03 times), whereas the existing Surgical Gowns are disposable grade. The integration of two layers of Surgical Gowns to make single layer Covid-19 PPE Coverall has resulted in substantial weight reduction. Now, in order to improve the wearing comfort, four sizes of the Coverall are developed to fit every one as oppose to the earlier Universal size.

Is it available in the market- at what price?

Our technology is very unique and guarded, hence PPE Coverall possessing the similar functional features of our developed technology is not available in the domestic and international market.

Have you found an industry partner?

The product (PPE Coverall) is developed with association of the industry partner, in order to supply in bulk quantity to meet the emergency requirement to control the spread of coronavirus.

What is the target of production per month?

The production capability of the partner industry is 1,20,000 Coveralls/month, but the industry is in talk with neighbourhood industries to manufacture more than 2,50,000 Coveralls/month, if such requirements will arise in the future.

How are they different from the others already existing in the market?

    The developed PPE Coverall has many unique features compared to the similar products available in the market;
  • Complete protection against the penetration of Coronavirus [protection level -5/6 as opposed to the requirement of 3/6 (minimum), MoHFW; ISO 16603].
  • Offering excellent antibacterial property (more than 99.5% reduction; AATCC 100: 2012) and such feature is not available in the most of the currently developed PPE Coverall.
  • Offering adequate clothing comfort; breathable [BS: 7209 (1990)]. Presently, no such PPE Coverall is available in the national/international market.
  • The outer face of the Coverall is displaying excellent water repellency (rating = 90) and oil repellency (10/10), hence the Corona Virus falling over the fabric will be easily rolled off.
  • Special grade PU coating offering very smooth surface feel and wearing comfort.
  • Available in four sizes (both Body Suit; S, M, L & XL and Shoe Cover; 1, 2, 3 & 4), fitting well to every one as opposed to Universal/Limited size category of Coverall, currently used.
  • Reusable (03 times) against disposable Coverall, presently available in the market, hence the effective cost is very cheaper compared to the Coveralls sold in the domestic/international market.

How is the weight lighter?

Very light weight (300 g) against the heavier PPE Coverall currently used (400 - 500 g)

Have you devised a post corona strategy for this product?

The coronavirus is reported to be a very persistent & prevailing and there is ample scope of frequent return back of the ongoing pandemic spread in the future and this spread has already devastated the world economy, hence the next generation of the PPE Coverall is targeted to be reusable (20 times) to support in the stabilization of the economic crisis.

The Team: