Demonstration of Hollow Fiber Membrane-Based Enclosed Space Air Remediation for Capture of an Aerosolized Synthetic SARS-CoV-2 Mimic and Pseudovirus Particles

Kevin C. Baldridge, Kearstin Edmonds, Thomas Dziubla, J. Zach Hilt, Rebecca E. Dutch, Dibakar Bhattacharyya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Reduction of airborne viral particles in enclosed spaces is critical in controlling pandemics. Three different hollow fiber membrane (HFM) modules were investigated for viral aerosol separation in enclosed spaces. Pore structures were characterized by scanning electron microscopy, and air transport properties were measured. Particle removal efficiency was characterized using aerosols generated by a collision atomizer from a defined mixture of synthetic nanoparticles including SARS-CoV-2 mimics (protein-coated 100 nm polystyrene). HFM1 (polyvinylidene fluoride, ∼50-1300 nm pores) demonstrated 96.5-100% efficiency for aerosols in the size range of 0.3-3 μm at a flow rate of 18.6 ± 0.3 SLPM (∼1650 LMH), whereas HFM2 (polypropylene, ∼40 nm pores) and HFM3 (hydrophilized polyether sulfone, ∼140-750 nm pores) demonstrated 99.65-100% and 98.8-100% efficiency at flow rates of 19.7 ± 0.3 SLPM (∼820 LMH) and 19.4 ± 0.2 SLPM (∼4455 LMH), respectively. Additionally, lasting filtration with minimal fouling was demonstrated using ambient aerosols over 2 days. Finally, each module was evaluated with pseudovirus (vesicular stomatitis virus) aerosol, demonstrating 99.3% (HFM1), >99.8% (HFM2), and >99.8% (HFM3) reduction in active pseudovirus titer as a direct measure of viral particle removal. These results quantified the aerosol separation efficiency of HFMs and highlight the need for further development of this technology to aid the fight against airborne viruses and particulate matter concerning human health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-262
Number of pages12
JournalACS ES and T Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 11 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge the NIEHS superfund research program for funding this research and also for the partial support by the National Science Foundation; Professor Yinan Wei for the gift of purified GFP protein; Dr. Gudipati Chakravarthy, Dr. Sebastian Hernandez, and the START Centre (Dr. Adil Dhalla) in Singapore for the generous supply of tribore hollow fiber modules used in this work and the corresponding mercury porosimetry data; Dr. Nicolas Briot for training and assistance with SEM; Nick Cprek for assistance with construction of aerosol testing systems; and Rollie Mills, Jacob Concolino, and Dr. Malgorzata Chwatko for their helpful discussions.

Funding Information:
This research was supported by NIEHS/NIH grant P42ES007380. Partial support was also provided by the NSF-RAPID grant (Award Number: 2030217).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Chemical Society.


  • bioaerosol
  • COVID-19
  • indoor air
  • PM
  • SARS-CoV-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Chemical Health and Safety
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Environmental Chemistry


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