IMFS February Abstracts

The 2nd IMFS session will take place on February 4th. Register to participate!


Filippo Pierini

Prpfessor at the Institute of Fundamental Technological Research of Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland

Personalized Reusable Face Masks with Smart Nano-Assisted Destruction of Pathogens for COVID-19: A Visionary Road

Filipo Pierini


The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) emergency has demonstrated that the utilization of face masks plays a critical role in limiting the outbreak. Healthcare professionals utilize masks all day long without replacing them very frequently, thus representing a source of cross-infection for patients and themselves. Nanotechnology is a powerful tool with the capability to produce nanomaterials with unique physicochemical and antipathogen properties. In this presentation, how to realize non-disposable and highly comfortable respirators with light-triggered self-disinfection ability by bridging bioactive nanofiber properties and stimuli-responsive nanomaterials is outlined. The visionary road that will be presented is based on the possibility of developing a new generation of masks based on multifunctional membranes where the presence of nanoclusters and plasmonic nanoparticles arranged in a hierarchical structure enables the realization of a chemically driven and on-demand antipathogen activities. Multilayer electrospun membranes have the ability to dissipate humidity present within the mask, enhancing the wearability and usability. The photothermal disinfected membrane is the core of these 3D printed and reusable masks with moisture pump capability. Personalized face masks with smart nano-assisted destruction of pathogens will bring enormous advantages to the entire global community, especially for front-line personnel, and will open up great opportunities for innovative medical applications.

Neil J Rowan

Bioscience Research Institute, Athlone Institute of Technology, Ireland

Pivoting beyond COVID-19 pandemic by supporting and enabling communities and enterprises to transition to low carbon economy: a ‘Empower Eco’ case study from the Republic of Ireland

Neil J Rowan

Bioscience Research Institute, Athlone Institute of Technology, Ireland


There is a pressing drive to address climate change and environmental degradation that are global existential threats. Recently, Europe has strategically responded by unifying efforts to transform its’ connected communities into a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy with a trajectory to enable no net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050; thus, ensuring economic growth is decoupled from resource utilisation, and that no person or place is left behind. The European Green Deal is an ambitious plan to make the European economy sustainable; this is set against a backstop of economic recovery that includes Brexit and COVID-19. Specifically, there is a pressing need to develop breakthrough sustainable ‘circularity’ solutions to replace current ‘take-make-dispose’ economy, which will impact positively on food waste regeneration, resource utilisation and climate change. One just transitional approach is to meet key challenges and opportunities through developing robust socio-economic models that will drive open responsible research and innovation, such as in smart agri-food, forestry, and bio-based systems. Recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic will require many changes including in the way we produce and consume our food that will have a direct effect on our health, our environment and our society. This keynote describes the first working example of a low carbon ‘circularity’ ecosystem that cross-cuts open research, innovation and enterprise from a bottom-up community perspective using the Irish midland peatlands; this is enabled through a digitised multi-actor eco-innovation HUB designated ‘Empower-Eco’ that converges academia, industry and communities. The Empower Eco Hub initiative will be embedded within RUN-EU network.

Manoj K Patel

CSIR-Central Scientific Instruments Organisation, INDIA

A time with electrostatically charged sprays for the mitigation of COVID-19

Manoj K Patel1,2,*

1Senior Scientist, Agriculture, Environment and Food Laboratory, CSIR-Central Scientific Instruments Organisation, Chandigarh – 160030, India.

2Assistant Professor, Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR), CSIR-CSIO, Chandigarh – 160030, India



The sudden outbreak of novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2E also termed as COVID-19 has become a global thread for human being and it has put the world in tremendous crisis. The virus attacks on human respiratory system and transmit through human-to-human via droplets, hand-shaking, and physical touch of surfaces. Disinfection and sanitization has become one of the most essential tasks to stop the spread of novel Corona virus. Fruits and vegetables, poultry, livestock, food commodities, healthcare, public transport, airports and railways, hotels and catering, work place and offices are the objects/places, where harmful microorganisms makes people vulnerable to diseases. The conventional methods of disinfection such as manual washing and cleaning consumes more material with lesser efficiency and increased load of chemical waste in the environment.

Electrostatic spraying methods, based on the electrostatic charging principles, produces uniform and fine spray droplets of disinfection material in the range of 5-20 µm. Due to the small sized and uniformly distributed droplets, the surface area of spray droplets increases which enhances the interaction with the harmful microorganisms. Charged droplets cover the directly exposed and obscured surfaces uniformly with increased efficiency and efficacy. Therefore, it kills or inhibits the growth of pathogens. The electrostatic spraying uses very less disinfection material as compared to conventional methods, which helps to save natural resources and negligible increase of chemical waste in the environment.

Keywords: COVID-19, Pandemic, Microorganism, Particulate matter, Charged sprays, Aerodynamics.

Tariq Masood

Department of Design, Manufacturing and Engineering Management,
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

COVID-19 and Manufacturing: The Power of Repurposing Factories

Tariq Masood
Department of Design, Manufacturing and Engineering Management,
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow


The COVID-19 pandemic has been testing manufacturing capabilities and resilience across the globe. Whenever there is a disease outbreak, earthquake, flood, heat wave, heavy snow, hurricane, or tsunami, the disaster management (response-recovery-mitigation-preparation) organisations provide medicine, food, water, and shelter. However, a particular challenge is that such operations are disrupted due to disconnectedness between commercially established and ad hoc disaster management manufacturing networks requiring future-proof operations aimed at saving lives, rebuilding  infrastructure and  society. Moreover, once-in-a-life time disasters like COVID-19 are extremely challenging to deal with. This talk aims to provide an overview of how manufacturing sector has been responding to the challenges of COVID-19 demonstrating the power of repurposing factories while also considering latest research questions like:

  • Repurposing factories with robotics in the face of COVID-19: Can collaborative robots ramp up the production of medical ventilators (and PPE)? [1-2]
  • How can Industry 4.0 technologies[3] be (better) used for tackling and building resilience to pandemics, particularly considering the roles of big data[4], simulations/digital twins [1-2, 5] and visualisation technologies like extended (augmented[6-9]/virtual[5]) reality in the face of COVID-19? [1-9]
  • What are the characteristics of smart / digital / intelligent / changeable factories of the future? [9-11]

This talk is suitable for students, faculty, industry, and policy experts interested in COVID-19 and manufacturing.

Keywords: COVID-19, Manufacturing, Industry 4.0, digitalisation, factory, technology, robotics, collaborative robots, augmented reality, virtual reality, digital twins, crisis, disaster, pandemic, disruption, resilience, medical ventilators


  • Malik, A.A.; Masood, T.; Kousar, R. Repurposing factories with robotics in the face of COVID-19. Science Robotics 2020, 5(43), eabc2782,
  • Malik, A.A.; Masood, T.; Kousar, R. Reconfiguring and ramping-up ventilator production in the face of COVID-19: Can robots help?. Journal of Manufacturing Systems 2020, 14 October 2020,
  • Masood, T. and Sonntag, P. (2020). “Industry 4.0: Adoption challenges and benefits for SMEs”, Computers in Industry, 121, 103261,, 12 pages.
  • Masood, T., So, E. and McFarlane, D.C. (2017). “Disaster management operations – big data analytics to resilient supply networks”, In European Operations Management Association (EurOMA) Conference, Edinburgh, 1-5 July 2017, pp. 1-10, available from here:
  • Malik, A.A., Masood, T. and A. Bilberg (2020). “Virtual reality in manufacturing: Immersive and collaborative artificial- reality in design of human-robot workspace”, International Journal of Computer Integrated Manufacturing, 33(1), 22-37,
  • Egger, J., and Masood, T. (2020). “Augmented reality in support of intelligent manufacturing – A systematic literature review”, Computers & Industrial Engineering, volume 140, 106195, published 3 December 2019,
  • Masood, T. and Egger, J. (2019). “Augmented reality in support of Industry 4.0 – Implementation challenges and success factors”, Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing, 58, 181-195,
  • Masood, T. and Egger, J. (2020). “Adopting augmented Reality in the age of Industrial Digitalisation”, Computers in Industry, volume 115, 103112,
  • Masood, T., Egger, J. and Kern, M. (2018). “Future-proofing the through-life engineering service systems”, Procedia Manufacturing, volume 16, pp. 179-186, published 2 November 2018. Invited Paper,
  • Masood, T., Kern, M. and Clarkson, P.J. (2020). “Characteristics of changeable systems across value chains”, International Journal of Production Research, 29 July 2020,
  • Rashid A, Masood T, Erkoyuncu JA, Tjahjono B, Khan N, Shami M. Enterprise systems’ life cycle in pursuit of resilient smart factory for emerging aircraft industry: a synthesis of Critical Success Factors’(CSFs), theory, knowledge gaps, and implications. Enterprise Information Systems 2018;12:96–136,

Estelina Silva

University of Porto, Portugal

Money “Laundary”

Estelina L Silva


Money is a vehicle of transmission of microorganisms, bacteria and viruses due to the constant flow of money transactions carried out between individuals in our society. This idea proposes the application of existing technology and knowledge to eliminate infectious agents in banknotes and coins, among other financial elements, which involve frequent use and exchange. This goal may resolve sources of contamination and pathogenic transmission, transforming the banknotes and coins into hygienically safe goods. The premise presented here can also be applied to exposed surfaces, which are repeatedly handled by people, more precisely on door handles, window knobs and sills, elevator buttons, handrails, mobile phones, airport check-in points and ATMs in supermarkets and other transactional areas [1]. All these exposed items and surfaces are potential vectors for the transmission of several infectious elements, and currently the most considerable and with largest risk being SARS-CoV-2. SARS-CoV-2 survives for long periods of time on exposed surfaces, with elevated survival rates on metallic surfaces, where 28 days after the contamination the virus continues to be active [1]. Other viruses, such as those that cause hepatitis and gastroenteritis, are also known for their long survival rate on metal surfaces [1]. It has been demonstrated that the permanence of SARS-CoV-2 on banknotes is even higher than that of other viruses such as Influenza A (H3N2), which remain on these surfaces for 17 days [1]. The permanence of viruses on paper and coins is of particular concern given the frequency and extension of circulation, with high potential rates for transferring several pathogens among people, including in overcoming geographical barriers [1].

Currently, the only effective measure in eliminating or reducing viral and/or bacterial load is by cleaning and disinfecting the surfaces, that aims to reduce indirect contamination and thus aid in protecting the public health. However, these measures have not shown to be sufficient to slow the spread of the SARS-CoV-2.

From the problem identified here, the opportunity of applying existing techniques well-known in materials science arises, namely immersion or spraying the monetary items, and exposed surfaces, in a medium formed by nanomaterials (emulsion/transparent ink), with proven efficiency in anti-pathogenic performance. Among such nano-systems are metal-oxide nanocrystals, glass and vitrocrystalline materials, such as TiO, ZnO, silicon oxide nanocrystals, and nanoparticles of silver or copper [2-4]. Several studies have shown that application of respective coatings may decrease the viral load to about 90% [4].

We will present here a review of the advantages of applying graphene, and other graphene-based nanomaterials to the presented idea, since these carbon-based low dimensional systems also show high anti-pathogenic activity [5-10]. Moreover, and since graphene-type materials evidence superior resistance properties when compared to any other currently known material, the coating process will also allow to improve the mechanical characteristics of banknotes, in particular against tears or damages. These systems also combine flexibility and mechanical rigidity against shear and tangential stress. Another advantage on the application of graphene related systems is because these present a lower environmental risk than inorganic materials and are less toxic.


[1] S. Riddell, et al., The effect of temperature on persistence of SARS-CoV-2 on common surfaces, Virol. J. 17 (2020) 145. doi:10.1186/s12985-020-01418-7.

[2] L. Cuoghi Fenollar, et al., Revestimientos vítreos con propiedades bactericidas y fungicidas, Boletín La Soc. Española Cerámica y Vidr. 51 (2012) XXVII–XXXIII. doi:10.3989/cyv.2012.v51.i2.1126.

[3] Tecnologia De Combate Ao COVID-19: Nano Ideias Inovadoras Sobre Prevenção, Diagnóstico E Tratamento | STATNANO, (n.d.). (accessed October 22, 2020).

[4] Copper 3d Antibacterial Innovations | Nanotechnology Company | NPD, (n.d.). (accessed October 22, 2020).

[5] H. Shen, et al., Biomedical Applications of Graphene, Theranostics. 2 (2012) 283–294. doi:10.7150/thno.3642.

[6] W. Hu, et al., Graphene-Based Antibacterial Paper, ACS Nano. 4 (2010) 4317–4323. doi:10.1021/nn101097v.

[7] Directa Plus’ Graphene’s Bacteriostatic Properties Can Help Control Coronavirus, (n.d.).’-Graphene’s-Bacteriostatic-Properties-Can-Help-Control-Coronavirus (accessed October 22, 2020).

[8] Reusable Graphene Mask Sterilises Itself Against Coronavirus with Electrical Charge | STATNANO, (n.d.). (accessed October 22, 2020).

[9] Grafeno: Síntesis, propiedades y aplicaciones biomédicas, (n.d.). (accessed October 22, 2020).

[10] Óxido de grafeno: Una nueva herramienta en la guerra contra las bacterias | Nano Sostenible, (n.d.). (accessed October 22, 2020).

Joana Valente

CDRSP – PLeiria; Portugal

coPOLY – Polymers reinforced with copper to promote antimicrobial effect

J.F.A. Valente1, C. Santos1, H. Marques1, A. Mateus1, N. Alves1

CDRsp-Centre Rapid and Sustainable Product Development, Polytechnic Institute of Leiria, Leiria, Portugal


The current pandemic situation leads us to adapt to this new reality and to search for alternatives regarding the materials that we use daily. Accordingly, it is often explained that the virus can remain on surfaces, making them potentially vehicles for the spread. In this regard, the development of materials with antimicrobial properties have arisen. Among the most studied materials are the ones combined with copper. This metal has been referenced over time as a material with antimicrobial properties and there are even studies showing its effectiveness in killing different pathogens, namely the coronavirus after a few minutes of contact.

In this regard, it was produced and optimized different polymeric/copper combinations with antimicrobial properties that can be applied for different purposes (from gloves, visors, masks, disposable medical supplies, among others). Overall, it will be possible to produce materials able to really protect the users since instead of been used only as a physical barrier against pathogens, they will have the ability to eliminate them when in contact.

Keywords: Antimicrobial properties; Copper; Polymers


This work is supported by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) and Centro2020 through the following Projects: UIDB/04044/2020, UIDP/04044/2020, PAMI – ROTEIRO/0328/2013 (Nº 022158), MATIS (CENTRO-01-0145-FEDER-000014) and Centro-01-02B7-FEDER-069244