Researchers at Penn State have developed a unique self-healing filter that could be straight out of science fiction.
Unlike conventional filters that allow smaller objects to pass through and block larger ones, the reverse filter allows larger particles to pass through and blocks smaller ones. The system works by responding to an object’s kinetic energy. The larger the object, the more kinetic energy it has.
The reverse filter utilizes a stabilized liquid suspended in a ring to form a self-healing membrane. As an item goes through the membrane, it closes around it. When the object passes through, the hole closes.
Once perfected, this development could be used in a variety of applications such as in surgery allowing operating tools to pass through the membrane but trapping harmful germs that could lead to infection. Researchers say components could also be added to the membrane to tailor it for other specific tasks such as blocking certain gases or odor-neutralization.
The research team plans to continue developing the reverse filter and collaborating with other researchers to adapt it for future practical applications.