Chantilly High Junior Proposes Graphene To Be Used As Protective Mask

Social distancing has affected people of all ages in different ways. While many teenagers are passing time on social media and streaming sites, some are using the time to search for solutions for the COVID-19 pandemic. Parnika Saxena of Chantilly is a junior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. She has spent her time researching an idea for a different kind of protective mask made of graphene.

The original model of the mask is designed to cover all openings of the face. Due to the transparency and flexibility of graphene, the material would be able to work well to cover the face

Parnika Saxena said, “Every day at the dinner table, COVID-19 was all my family would talk about. Seeing how serious it was getting and the impact that it was having on our community and around the world, I started thinking about what could be done. I had learned a couple of things from my school club, nanotechnology club, as well as chemistry class so I started looking online and did research. What makes it different from existing masks is that: it covers all openings of the face, its use of nanotechnology allows for the passing of oxygen yet stops COVID-19 particles from passing through, it is transparent, and it is lightweight, strong, and flexible, making it easy to fit as a mask.”

According to, “While the original mask design consisted solely of graphene, further research points to a combination of materials for maximum protection. A solution Dr. Hurt proposed is to add multiple layers, but it comes with its drawbacks. The high production cost and lack of manufacturing processes mean further research must be done for the graphene mask to be produced and sold. Nevertheless, Saxena believes graphene is an invaluable material and could be used in other life-saving products.”

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Maryam N. is a Senior Writer at Nesbitt Realty. She is an expert on Fairfax County. Maryam has also worked previously as a geologist. She is a foodie and enjoys cooking and exploring new restaurants.