Air pollution is an increasing risk, with high levels of smoke in the atmosphere due to wildfires posing a risk to vulnerable populations’ health, outdoor recreation opportunities, and tourism near Calgary, Canada. On one of the worst days in 2018, the air pollution had a similar effect on surrounding communities to smoking 6 to 10 cigarettes per person. In anticipating more wildfires as climate change progresses, Team Foothills Flow designed a nature-inspired mask that could be worn outside on these smoky days. They looked to the particle-trapping strategies of bees, mammalian eyelashes and nose hairs, and flower stigmas to design a surface that can capture smoke particulates as small as 6 nanometers.
Photos courtesy of Foothills Flow.