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ME Scholar wins top prizes in Geneva's Invention Expo

Prof. Wallace Leung, Chair Professor of Innovative Products & Technologies, Department of Mechanical Engineering, has won a Special Award and a Gold Medal in the 42nd International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva.

The winning project “Multilayer Nanofibre Filter – Nanoaerosols Capture with Added Functions” undertaken by Prof. Leung investigates how particle pollutants in air – including the nano-aerosols can be captured by nanofibres and gaseous pollutants (nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compounds from emissions) can be converted to harmless substances, while captured bacteria can be further killed by the functionalized nanofibre layers. The nanofibers are typically 100-300 nanometers in diameter (1/500 to 1/1000 than smaller than human hair) and can be made from polymeric, inorganic to natural materials. Nano-aerosols, including diesel particulates, laser-printer particles, viruses and small bacteria, by virtue of their small sizes, typically less than 100 nm, can get into our respiratory, vascular, lymphatic and nervous systems, leading to various chronic diseases. The multilayer nanofibre filter using multiple thin nanofibre layers, each supported by a permeable scrim material, attains high-capture efficiency of nano-aerosols while the air flow through the filter only requires a lower pressure drop as compared to the filter in which the same amount of nanofibres are packed in a single-layer. This is advantageous for many applications from personal protection (face masks, respirators) to cabin (air planes, trains, buses, and cars) and space ventilation (auditoriums, class rooms, theatres, offices, etc.).

The winning of top prizes in the international exposition not only have brought glory to Hong Kong, but the breakthrough also extended the frontiers of knowledge and enhanced the well-being of our society.

Under the patronage of the Swiss Federal Government, the State and the City of Geneva as well as the World Intellectual Property Organization, the 42nd International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva was held from 2 to 6 April 2014.