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Making surfaces repellent to bacteria and viruses with Repel WrapAugust 12, 2020

In Episode 3 of the Big Ideas for a Changing World podcast, Leyla Soleymani and Tohid Didar share the latest on their bacteria and virus repellent plastic wrap and its potential use during the pandemic.

What if frequently touched surfaces like food packaging, door handleand bus railings could be coated with a plastic that repels bacteria and viruses? 

McMaster engineers Leyla Soleymani and Tohid Didarthe lead creators of a self-cleaning plastic wrap called Repel Wrap, are working towards making this technology widely available. 

You can disinfect surfaces a couple of times a day, but what happens during the time in between? If you have something like the Repel Wrap that remains clean within that duration, that’s a promising technology,” says Soleymanian associate professor in engineering physics and Canada Research Chair in Miniaturized Biomedical Devices.

Repel Wrap is a restructured plastic surface – like transparent plastic wrap – with microscopic textures that exclude all external molecules such as bacteria and drops of blood. It can be shrink-wrapped to fit different surfaces to create a protective barrier. 

After confirming its effectiveness against viruses similar in structure to COVID-19, the team of engineers and health scientists are now testing the surface with the COVID-19 virus. 

We’re also developing a spray that contains the microparticles with these wrinkles and nanoparticles on it, which can be sprayed on to a variety of surfaces,” says Didaran assistant professor in mechanical engineering and the McMaster School of Biomedical Engineering. 

Engineering is a career that has allowed me to use creative ways to solve problems – for me, that's what this is all about,” says Soleymani. 

Hear more about Repel Wrap and Soleymani and Didar’s research journeys on Big Ideas for a Changing World. Available on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.  

Read the full story on Repel Wrap on Brighter World and CNN Health.