Dr. Peter Tsai

Peter Tsai is a retired research faculty member from the Department of Material Science and Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He is the architect behind the essential technology in N95 respirators, which are used on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19. Tsai invented and patented electrostatic charging, a process in which permanent charges are embedded into a fiber to enhance filter efficiency by electrostatic attraction. These filters help block 95 percent of all submicron particles found in viruses, like the novel coronavirus. He recently came out of retirement to work in conjunction with the UT Research Foundation on methods and testing that might provide a way for the masks to be safely reused, greatly improving the outlook for medical teams and first responders during the pandemic. He also helped ORNL quickly convert its carbon fiber processing facility into an N95 filtration cloth facility, allowing ORNL to help industries mass produce the N95 filter media.