COVID-19 has changed the way we use public transport. To gain the public’s trust, operators must apply new protocols that were not defined until now. This change to what is known as the ‘new reality’ led to the CIT UPC’s participation in the ‘Dialogues with Experts’ series, which was jointly organised with the Clúster Railgrup, the EUROSURFAS International Congress and the EXPOQUIMIA, EQUIPLAST and INDUSTRY international fairs at the Fira de Barcelona. The sessions took place on 28 May and 16 June and were titled ‘COVID-19 and public transport. Science counterattacks’. The aim was to tackle responses to the challenges of increasing as much as possible the safety in enclosed places such as carriages, metro or local train stations and buses, and avoid the risk of contagion with COVID 19. Both sessions had good attendance, with the online presence of over 60 and 170 people, respectively.
In the first session, Carlos Alemán, director of the Innovation in Materials and Molecular Engineering – Biomaterials for Regenerative Therapies (IMEM-BRT) research group from the Chemical Engineering Department of the UPC and Pau Turón, director of research and development at B.Braun, presented promising results of a project. The project had been developed jointly on new strategies for the detection, blocking and elimination of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, based on physical and chemical properties of functionalised metal nanoparticles.
In the second session, Joaquim Rigola, researcher at the Heat and Mass Transfer Technological Center (CTTC UPC), presented how air flows in stations and public transport vehicles are key to the potential propagation of the virus, and the most advanced simulation technologies can be applied to minimise the risk of contagion.
The event was jointly funded by the European Regional Development Funds (ERDF) of the European Union, as part of the Operational Framework of the ERDF in Catalonia 2014-2020.