UW News

November 22, 2021

Video: UW students build purifiers that can remove virus particles, other pollutants

UW News

With the coronavirus still a concern this fall, a UW class that normally is about air pollution and emissions has pivoted to focus on another airborne health hazard — coronavirus aerosols.

Air pollution expert Julian Marshall, a UW professor of civil and environmental engineering, is leading his class in building and testing low-cost, DIY air purifiers. The MERV filters used in their design can remove common pollutants from the air, plus virus particles — and can be used to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. 

These types of homemade air purifiers have already been successful at removing particles found in wildfire smoke from the air. 

As part of the class project, the students are designing various configurations of the purifiers and testing how effective they are. Initially, the students built a “one fan, one filter” device. Then they built larger devices with two to five filters in triangular or three-dimensional box shapes. Students will be testing their devices to see whether having the fan push or pull air through the filter is better, how noisy the purifiers are and how effective they are at removing particles from the air. 

For more information about the class and project, contact Marshall at jdmarsh@uw.eduFor video, contact Kiyomi Taguchi at ktaguchi@uw.edu or 206-685-2716.