Air is life sustaining. It’s also a critical input in a number of industries, including consumer health, defense, and advanced manufacturing. NuMat is committed to developing innovative personnel protection and environmental control solutions that ensure the highest standards of air quality across these sectors and beyond.
Metal organic frameworks (MOFs) are at the cutting edge of advanced air filtration technology.Air filtration requires the removal of target gases and particulates from the atmosphere with extreme precision and efficiency. Unlike incumbent technology such as activated carbon and zeolites, MOFs are highly tunable and customizable to targeted impurities that are extremely challenging to remove. NuMat’s Next Nine platform leverages this high-performance customizability to tackle the most challenging air filtration needs of tomorrow.
Adsorbents used in air filtration must have specificity toward the removal of target contaminants and fast reactivities to prevent breakthrough at high flow rates, while also being able to endure high-humidity environments and maintain high capacities to reduce the frequency of filter changeovers. Due to their limited customization and tunability, the use of activated carbon or zeolite adsorbents for air filtration requires some tradeoff in these performance requirements.
With the Next Nine platform, NuMat can design air filtration adsorbents capable of achieving specific requirements without compromise. Pulling from the hundreds of thousands of potential MOF structures available provides an unprecedented flexibility to custom design high-capacity, robust, selective, and fast-reacting chemical adsorbents for the challenges that matter.
Personal Protection and Safety
According to the World Health Organization, 92% of the world’s population living in areas with potentially dangerous air quality. In its most recent report, the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health released said that pollution is the largest environmental cause of disease and premature death in the world today – resulting in an estimated 9 million premature deaths in 2015, or 16% of all deaths worldwide.
The Next NineTM platform is addressing the global challenge of access to clean air through the integration of MOFs into consumer, industrial, and military protective equipment, such as gas masks. To do this, NuMat has developed next-generation material technologies uniquely tuned to selectively capture toxic industrial chemicals (TICs), such as chlorine, ammonia and NOx. In partnership with global partners, NuMat is integrating these technologies into a diverse portfolio of products that provide life-sustaining clean air in the harshest of conditions.
Sector Profile: Defense
For more than 80 years, the defense sector has relied upon activated carbon as the primary filtration material for chemical agent protection. However, even state-of-the-art carbon has significant performance limitations and is ineffective against emerging threats from TICs and non-traditional agents. In partnership with defense industry partners and the Department of Defense, NuMat has demonstrated that MOFs can be highly tailored to neutralize emerging chemical threats that carbon cannot address by both capturing and detoxifying threats. The Next NineTM platform is providing customized solutions to address warfighter modernization priorities requirements across a diverse product portfolio, from gas masks to building HVAC systems.
For example, a leading defense customer required the development of a new material technology that could achieve challenge specifications for removing an emerging TIC threat. Using the Next NineTM platform, NuMat rapidly developed a solution that exceeded challenge specifications for adsorption capacity of the target TIC by more than 50% and reduced the formation of unwanted chemical byproducts by 80%. NuMat then scaled this material and is leading deployment of it into the field.
The presence of air impurities in a closed environment can jeopardize the health of individuals, as well as the viability of products. From laboratory clean rooms and to microelectronics fabs, to aircraft cabins and submarines, having systems that provide pure air is critical. With the Next NineTM platform, NuMat is providing high-performance air filtration and purification solutions, customizable at the molecular level to meet the most demanding requirements.
Environmental air control systems are a matter of life and death in space. In confined environments, without the correct management technology in place, concentrations of carbon dioxide can quickly reach toxic levels. Current carbon dioxide management systems are large, generate dust, and are susceptible to failure when exposed to water. These weaknesses are a result of the adsorbent at the heart of these systems.
In partnership with NASA, NuMat is developing next generation carbon dioxide filtration system for deep space missions. With the Next NineTM platform, NuMat’s material-enabled solution offers several improvements over incumbent technology by reducing the environmental footprint, decreasing the required maintenance, and lowering the cost of system regeneration.
As MOFs have much lower water adsorption than zeolites, for example, it will be easier to regenerate the air filtration systems if exposed to water — a significant performance issue in mission critical systems. This means that MOFs can operate in a wider range of operating conditions, including humid environments. This dual-use technology can be deployed across a diverse portfolio of carbon dioxide capture applications in air filtration and beyond.
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