On the design of particle filters inspired by animal noses

Jisoo Yuk, Aneek Chakraborty, Shyuan Cheng, Chun I. Chung, Ashley Jorgensen, Saikat Basu, Leonardo P. Chamorro, Sunghwan Jung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Passive filtering is a common strategy to reduce airborne disease transmission and particulate contaminants across scales spanning orders of magnitude. The engineering of high-performance filters with relatively low flow resistance but high virus- or particle-blocking efficiency is a non-trivial problem of paramount relevance, as evidenced in the variety of industrial filtration systems and face masks. Next-generation industrial filters and masks should retain sufficiently small droplets and aerosols while having low resistance. We introduce a novel 3D-printable particle filter inspired by animals' complex nasal anatomy. Unlike standard randommedia- based filters, the proposed concept relies on equally spaced channels with tortuous airflow paths. These two strategies induce distinct effects: a reduced resistance and a high likelihood of particle trapping by altering their trajectories with tortuous paths and induced local flow instability. The structures are tested for pressure drop and particle filtering efficiency over different airflow rates. We have also cross-validated the observed efficiency through numerical simulations. We found that the designed filters exhibit a lower pressure drop, compared to commercial masks and filters, while capturing particles bigger than approximately 10 m. Our findings could facilitate a novel and scalable filter concept inspired by animal noses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20210849
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue number188
StatePublished - 2022


  • Passive filter
  • animal nose
  • particle capture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials

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