Sterilizing Respirators At Texas A&M’s Electron Beam Facility

Researchers are using radiation to decontaminate personal protective equipment including gowns, facial shields and N95 masks.
By Texas A&M Engineering: SoundBytes Podcast September 8, 2020

N95 mask sitting on blue fabric
The Electron Beam Facility could process an estimated 10,000 masks per hour.

Courtesy of David Staack


A team led by David Staack and Matt Pharr of the J. Mike Walker ’66 Department of Mechanical Engineering, along with Suresh Pillai from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is using the electron beam facility at Texas A&M University to sterilize and decontaminate personal protective equipment, including gowns, face shields, and most importantly, N95 respirator masks.

“Obviously we would love to have an impact on healthcare workers. We’re also finding like right now there are, there are applications for what we’re doing which aren’t just healthcare workers,” Staack said in an interview on the College of Engineering’s SoundBytes podcast. “There’s other people who, in order to get back to work, need to have ways to sterilize the tools they use.”

Staack discusses how the team tested its methods, what implementation could look like in the real world, and the potential impact these lessons learned could have beyond the renewal of PPE.

This information is part of a larger conversation on the College of Engineering’s SoundBytes podcast. Listen to the full episode on the SoundBytes webpage or on your preferred audio platform. 

This article originally appeared on the College of Engineering website.

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