Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Active Filtration of Airborne Biological and Chemical Agents and Diesel Particulates Using Heated Porous Foam Filters

Technology #2580

Questions about this technology? Ask a Technology Manager

Download Printable PDF

Albert J. Shih
Managed By
Keith Hughes
Assistant Director, Physical Sciences & Engineering 734-764-9429
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending


Air filtration is a well-developed technology, frequently used in homes to remove dust, microorganisms, and other particulates. In more stringent environments, such as laboratories and hospitals, filters not only need to remove particulates but also render any pathogenic microorganisms non-viable. Although heating of the air by use of external heat sources or disposal of the filter at high temperatures have been explored, maintaining such standards while preserving high operational volume and flow rate remain a challenge.


Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed an active filtration system of airborne contaminants, which takes advantage of electric resistance heating. In particular, porous conductive filters heated by electric resistance trap particulates from gas streams and are capable of deactivating and/or destroying particulates, rendering pathogens non-viable. Under proper conditions, the filters may be used to safely treat gas streams containing combustible gases or dispersed flammable liquids. In addition, the filters may be regenerated upon heating to incinerate trapped particles.

Applications and Advantages


  • Filtration and neutralization of airborne pathogens-nl-and chemical agents


  • Filters may be regenerated
  • Large specific surface area for high efficiency-nl-filtering/ heating
  • Lightweight design
  • Compatible with streams containing combustible-nl-gases or dispersed flammable liquids including-nl-diesel particulates