Mitsui, Nagoya University Partner to Make 3D Masks


Reusable design uses Mitsui meltblown nonwovens

Mitsui Chemicals has begun working on the development of a new, reusable 3D-printed mask with Professor HORI Katsutoshi of the Graduate School of Engineering at Nagoya University  and Friend Microbe Inc., a spinoff venture from Nagoya University.

The key feature of the mask design is that is can filter out viral particles but can also be reused. It consists of a reusable body and a disposable filter. Mitsui Chemicals will provide the nonwoven disposable filter, which removes viral particles. Professor HORI has produced the mask body using a 3D printer and is investigating enzyme preparations and various other antiviral agents that could be applied. Plans are to produce a mask with consideration of design and comfort while also ensuring that it provides outstanding protection against viruses.

In working together with a university, a university startup and a materials manufacturer, Mitsui Chemicals aims to offer socially beneficial solutions and tie this into the development of novel products that will help shape the next generation.

The nonwoven fabric is produced at Mitsui Chemicals’ plants in Nagoya and Yokkaichi. The company's W\wholly owned subsidiary Sunrex Industry Co., Ltd. is meeting strong demand from existing customers thanks to expanded production facilities for the meltblown nonwovens used in masks, which went online in January 2020.*5