Environmentally Sustainable Particulate Filter Fabricated via Induced Phase Separation of Bioderived Fungal Chitin and Poly(lactic acid)

Hanjou Park, Jeongmin Oh, Yaewon Park, Sungmin Kim, Jooyoun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With the increasing demand for filtering face pieces as daily personal protection, inevitable problems associated with filter wastes have been addressed. To mitigate this concern, an eco-friendly alternative filter material is developed using plant-sourced biomaterials, poly(lactic acid) (PLA) and fungal chitin. Heterogeneous electrospun fibers with distinctive chitin-rich and PLA-rich regions are formed by inducing phase separation between hydrophilic chitin and hydrophobic PLA polymers. The PLA and chitin-incorporated PLA (ChPLA) webs are evaluated for filtration performance against NaCl nanoparticles, examining the contribution of mechanical and electrostatic particle capture mechanisms, with and without aging under two different environmental conditions of 40 °C and a 3% relative humidity and 25 °C and a 90% RH. The adverse effect of humid treatment on filtration efficiency is apparent for the ChPLA web, and the loss of overall filtration efficiency is mostly attributed to the reduced electrostatic filtration mechanism, as is evidenced by the decreased surface potential measurement. The ChPLA web displays lower tensile stress than the PLA web, and the mechanical strength is further reduced when ChPLA is exposed to moisture. In the soil burial test, ChPLA shows higher degradability than PLA during 56 days of burial. This research provides practical information to design environmentally sustainable filter media, primarily with biobased polymers, especially shedding light on accelerated biodegradation via induced phase separation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Applied Polymer Materials
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korean government (MSIT) (no. 2022R1A2C2003072) and the Yonsei University Research Fund of 2022 (2022-22-0108). The authors appreciate Daun Kim, an undergraduate research assistant from the Department of Clothing and Textiles at Yonsei University, for her assistance in the biodegradation tests.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Published by American Chemical Society.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Organic Chemistry


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