Functional Ink Innovator Develops Anti-Microbial Face Mask for General Use

Liquid X, a manufacturer of functional metallic inks for e-textiles, is using their proprietary, OEKO-TEX certified particle-free silver ink to create the ComforTeX line of washable, reusable, and comfortable face masks. Designed for general use, the anti-microbial face masks remove over 95% of the tiny droplets and particles suspended in the air (aerosols).

Each mask includes a pocket for the SecruiTeX filter insert which features an antimicrobial coating for extra protection against micrororganisms. The coating is produced with Liquid X metallic inks that have inherent antimicrobial properties.

Over the past year, Liquid X has been using their inks to develop smart textiles for the automotive, aviation, and medical industries. Because the the company’s metallic inks use silver, zinc, and copper metals that have inherent anti-microbial properties, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted Liquid X to begin offering non-conductive textiles that would help limit the spread of the virus. The Liquid X particle inks conformally coat the textile to keep pathogens from growing on the fabric.

A scanning electronic microscope (SEM) captured this 250X magnification of a woven polyester fabric coated with Liquid X’s particle-free ink. The ink uniformly coats each thread, creating smooth, flexible textiles that offer conductive properties or inhibit the growth of pathogenic micro-organisms.

“Typically our inks functionalize a textile to create an electronic device that can bend and flex in ways that traditional electronic devices cannot,” explains Beth Vasy, vice president of operations at Liquid X. “We can also use derivatives of our ink formulations to create low-cost, even transparent, anti-microbial coatings for high-touch surfaces, medical gowns, hospital curtains, automotive upholstery, and more.”

OEKO-TEX-Certification

In June, Liquid X received the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 Certification for their silver ink. The world-renowned OEKO-TEX label lets consumers know that non-woven polyester textiles treated with the ink have been tested to be free of carcinogens and heavy metals and are safe for contact with skin. Liquid X earned the strictest, baby-safe rating.

“With the new OEKO-TEX Standard 100 Certification, our inks can now enable wearable applications that require contact with skin and the ability to withstand sweat and/or saliva,” said Bill Babe, sales and marketing manager at Liquid X. For example, medical-device manufacturers can use the ink to design wearable electronics for health and wellness monitoring.

During the pandemic, “We initially started making masks and antimicrobial filter inserts for our employees, friends, and familes as a way to provide an increased level of protection,” says Vasy. The feedback about the breathability and comfort of the masks was overwhelmingly positive, so Liquid X decided to offer the masks to the public: “We want to provide a way for people to protect themselves when the other person isn’t wearing a mask.”

Liquid X CEO Greg Babe wears the ComforTeX face mask.

Adult-size masks costs $5.99 and come with one anti-microbial insert. A 10-pack of additional inserts can be purchased for $10.99. Visit: https://liquid-x-printed-metals-inc.myshopify.com

The antimicrobial insert should be removed before the mask is washed. A replacement insert should be used after every three washes of the mask. The mask can be washed up to 10 times.

About Liquid X

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Liquid X is an advanced material manufacturer that can take an application for functional metallic inks from prorotype to production. Liquid X partners with manufacturers within the electronics industry to develop and print functional components such as sensors, heating elements, and smart textiles. They use additive manufactuing techniques to take an application from concept to commercialization. Visit: http://www.liquid-x.com

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Joint Venture Leads to Durable, Flexible, Washable E-Textiles for Smart Garments

Powercast Corporation and Liquid X have teamed up to enable cost-effective manufacturing of durable, flexible, washable e-textiles that could be wirelessly recharged. Using e-textiles made with printed electronics, garment manufacturers could embed battery-powered health and wealth features, movement monitoring, or LED-based illumination directly into garments.

Liquid X and Powercast showcased a wirelessly rechargeable smart athletic shirt prototype at CES in January 2020. The shirt illuminates using printed electronics, embedded power harvesting technology, and LEDs powered over the air up to 10 feet away from the wireless transmitter.

Unlike smart garments that use snap-on electronics and battery packs that must be detached before the garment is washed, the electronics made with these e-textiles could be washed without the extra battery-removal step

Using Liquid X’s proprietary ink technology, manufacturers can print circuitry directly onto a garment, add Powercast’s wireless power technology and a battery, and seal it all into the garment during the manufacturing process.

First, circuitry is printed on the fabric using Liquid X’s proprietary particle-free ink, including Powercast’s RF wireless receiving antenna.

Next, Powercast’s Powerharvester® RF wireless power receiver chip, a battery, and other components are mounted onto the printed traces.

Finally, an encapsulant provides a high strength waterproof bond to seal in all of the electronics.

To recharge the battery, consumers simply place a Powercast RF transmitter in the closet or drawer where they store their smart garment. It transmits RF energy over the air to the RF receiver embedded in the wearable, which then converts it to direct current (DC) to charge the battery.

About Powercast: Powercast, established in 2003, is the leading provider of RF-based wireless power technologies that work in the far field (up to 80 feet) to provide power-over-distance, eliminate or reduce the need for batteries, and power or charge devices without wires and connectors. For more information: www.powercastco.com.

About Liquid X: Liquid X is an advanced manufacturer of functional metallic inks. The company partners with manufacturers in the electronics industry to develop and print functional components for devices such as sensors, heating elements, and smart textiles. Using proprietary particle-free inks, printing capabilities and technical expertise, Liquid X takes an application from concept to commercialization using additive manufacturing techniques. For more information: www.liquid-x.com