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2.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 24490, 2021 12 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1594104

ABSTRACT

During the first wave of Covid-19 infections in Germany in April 2020, clinics reported a shortage of filtering face masks with aerosol retention> 94% (FFP2 & 3, KN95, N95). Companies all over the world increased their production capacities, but quality control of once-certified materials and masks came up short. To help identify falsely labeled masks and ensure safe protection equipment, we tested 101 different batches of masks in 993 measurements with a self-made setup based on DIN standards. An aerosol generator provided a NaCl test aerosol which was applied to the mask. A laser aerosol spectrometer measured the aerosol concentration in a range from 90 to 500 nm to quantify the masks' retention. Of 101 tested mask batches, only 31 batches kept what their label promised. Especially in the initial phase of the pandemic in Germany, we observed fluctuating mask qualities. Many batches show very high variability in aerosol retention. In addition, by measuring with a laser aerosol spectrometer, we were able to show that not all masks filter small and large particles equally well. In this study we demonstrate how important internal and independent quality controls are, especially in times of need and shortage of personal protection equipment.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , Masks/statistics & numerical data , Aerosols , Filtration/instrumentation , Germany , Humans , Masks/standards , Masks/trends , N95 Respirators/standards , N95 Respirators/statistics & numerical data , Occupational Exposure/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Personal Protective Equipment/standards , Quality Control , Respiratory Protective Devices/standards , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
3.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 24318, 2021 12 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585786

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic presents a unique challenge to the healthcare community due to the high infectivity rate and need for effective personal protective equipment. Zinc oxide nanoparticles have shown promising antimicrobial properties and are recognized as a safe additive in many food and cosmetic products. This work presents a novel nanocomposite synthesis approach, which allows zinc oxide nanoparticles to be grown within textile and face mask materials, including melt-blown polypropylene and nylon-cotton. The resulting nanocomposite achieves greater than 3 log10 reduction (≥ 99.9%) in coronavirus titer within a contact time of 10 min, by disintegrating the viral envelope. The new nanocomposite textile retains activity even after 100 laundry cycles and has been dermatologist tested as non-irritant and hypoallergenic. Various face mask designs were tested to improve filtration efficiency and breathability while offering antiviral protection, with Claros' design reporting higher filtration efficiency than surgical masks (> 50%) for particles ranged 200 nm to 5 µm in size.


Subject(s)
Masks/virology , Nanocomposites/toxicity , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Virus Inactivation/drug effects , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Filtration/methods , Humans , Metal Nanoparticles/chemistry , Nanocomposites/chemistry , Nylons/chemistry , Polypropylenes/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Textiles/analysis , Zinc Oxide/chemistry
4.
PLoS One ; 16(3): e0247575, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1573727

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to widespread shortages of N95 respirators and other personal protective equipment (PPE). An effective, reusable, locally-manufactured respirator can mitigate this problem. We describe the development, manufacture, and preliminary testing of an open-hardware-licensed device, the "simple silicone mask" (SSM). METHODS: A multidisciplinary team developed a reusable silicone half facepiece respirator over 9 prototype iterations. The manufacturing process consisted of 3D printing and silicone casting. Prototypes were assessed for comfort and breathability. Filtration was assessed by user seal checks and quantitative fit-testing according to CSA Z94.4-18. RESULTS: The respirator originally included a cartridge for holding filter material; this was modified to connect to standard heat-moisture exchange (HME) filters (N95 or greater) after the cartridge showed poor filtration performance due to flow acceleration around the filter edges, which was exacerbated by high filter resistance. All 8 HME-based iterations provided an adequate seal by user seal checks and achieved a pass rate of 87.5% (N = 8) on quantitative testing, with all failures occurring in the first iteration. The overall median fit-factor was 1662 (100 = pass). Estimated unit cost for a production run of 1000 using distributed manufacturing techniques is CAD $15 in materials and 20 minutes of labor. CONCLUSION: Small-scale manufacturing of an effective, reusable N95 respirator during a pandemic is feasible and cost-effective. Required quantities of reusables are more predictable and less vulnerable to supply chain disruption than disposables. With further evaluation, such devices may be an alternative to disposable respirators during public health emergencies. The respirator described above is an investigational device and requires further evaluation and regulatory requirements before clinical deployment. The authors and affiliates do not endorse the use of this device at present.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Equipment Design/instrumentation , Filtration/instrumentation , Pandemics/prevention & control , Personal Protective Equipment , Respiratory Protective Devices , Ventilators, Mechanical , Equipment Reuse , Face , Humans , Materials Testing/instrumentation , N95 Respirators , Occupational Exposure/prevention & control , Printing, Three-Dimensional/instrumentation , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
5.
Rev Mal Respir ; 38(9): 936-941, 2021 Nov.
Article in French | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1521503

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: "Anti-pollution" masks are a form of personal protective equipment intended to ensure filtration of ambient particulate air pollution. STATE OF THE ART: Although according to tests performed in the lab, their filtration power is high, the filtering efficiency of these masks in real conditions of use, that is to say, during physical effort, is generally lower than that established in the laboratory and this information is rarely available on commercial products on sale. Clinical studies, which are rarely double-blind, demonstrate a lower incidence of symptoms and a somewhat better cardiac performance when exercise is performed while wearing a mask. For short-term use, the tolerance of these masks is fair. PERSPECTIVES: There is room for technical improvements in mask design improved fitting to the face, lowering inspiratory resistance and dead space, as well as preventing the accumulation of humidity on the mask. Manufacturers should include information in their packaging on the filtering power and design masks usable by children. Clinical studies should be performed to assess the long-term safety and effectiveness of mask in susceptible populations, especially people with asthma. CONCLUSION: Anti-pollution filtering face piece respirators have a theoretical high filtering power towards particles, but their efficiency in real-life conditions is more limited. Because such devices may confer to users a false sense of protection, the French agency on environment and health do not support their use.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Masks , Child , Filtration , Humans , Personal Protective Equipment , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic , SARS-CoV-2
6.
PLoS One ; 16(9): e0255338, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1518352

ABSTRACT

Global shortages of N95 respirators have led to an urgent need of N95 decontamination and reuse methods that are scientifically validated and available world-wide. Although several large scale decontamination methods have been proposed (hydrogen peroxide vapor, UV-C); many of them are not applicable in remote and low-resource settings. Heat with humidity has been demonstrated as a promising decontamination approach, but care must be taken when implementing this method at a grassroots level. Here we present a simple, scalable method to provide controlled humidity and temperature for individual N95 respirators which is easily applicable in low-resource settings. N95 respirators were subjected to moist heat (>50% relative humidity, 65-80°C temperature) for over 30 minutes by placing them in a sealed container immersed in water that had been brought to a rolling boil and removed from heat, and then allowing the containers to sit for over 45 minutes. Filtration efficiency of 0.3-4.99 µm incense particles remained above 97% after 5 treatment cycles across all particle size sub-ranges. This method was then repeated at a higher ambient temperature and humidity in Mumbai, using standard utensils commonly found in South Asia. Similar temperature and humidity profiles were achieved with no degradation in filtration efficiencies after 6 cycles. Higher temperatures (>70°C) and longer treatment times (>40 minutes) were obtained by insulating the outer vessel. We also showed that the same method can be applied for the decontamination of surgical masks. This simple yet reliable method can be performed even without electricity access using any heat source to boil water, from open-flame stoves to solar heating, and provides a low-cost route for N95 decontamination globally applicable in resource-constrained settings.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Decontamination/methods , Equipment Reuse/statistics & numerical data , Hot Temperature , Humidity , Masks/standards , N95 Respirators/standards , Asia/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Filtration , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
7.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 12110, 2021 06 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1517640

ABSTRACT

Wearing surgical masks or other similar face coverings can reduce the emission of expiratory particles produced via breathing, talking, coughing, or sneezing. Although it is well established that some fraction of the expiratory airflow leaks around the edges of the mask, it is unclear how these leakage airflows affect the overall efficiency with which masks block emission of expiratory aerosol particles. Here, we show experimentally that the aerosol particle concentrations in the leakage airflows around a surgical mask are reduced compared to no mask wearing, with the magnitude of reduction dependent on the direction of escape (out the top, the sides, or the bottom). Because the actual leakage flowrate in each direction is difficult to measure, we use a Monte Carlo approach to estimate flow-corrected particle emission rates for particles having diameters in the range 0.5-20 µm. in all orientations. From these, we derive a flow-weighted overall number-based particle removal efficiency for the mask. The overall mask efficiency, accounting both for air that passes through the mask and for leakage flows, is reduced compared to the through-mask filtration efficiency, from 93 to 70% for talking, but from only 94-90% for coughing. These results demonstrate that leakage flows due to imperfect sealing do decrease mask efficiencies for reducing emission of expiratory particles, but even with such leakage surgical masks provide substantial control.


Subject(s)
Aerosols , Communicable Disease Control/methods , Cough , Exhalation , Filtration , Masks , Virus Diseases/prevention & control , Adolescent , Adult , COVID-19/prevention & control , Equipment Failure , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Monte Carlo Method , Particle Size , Probability , Respiration , Sneezing , Young Adult
8.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 21979, 2021 11 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1510615

ABSTRACT

Respirators, medical masks, and barrier face coverings all filter airborne particles using similar physical principles. However, they are tested for certification using a variety of standardized test methods, creating challenges for the comparison of differently certified products. We have performed systematic experiments to quantify and understand the differences between standardized test methods for N95 respirators (NIOSH TEB-APR-STP-0059 under US 42 CFR 84), medical face masks (ASTM F2299/F2100), and COVID-19-related barrier face coverings (ASTM F3502-21). Our experiments demonstrate the role of face velocity, particle properties (mean size, size variability, electric charge, density, and shape), measurement techniques, and environmental preconditioning. The measured filtration efficiency was most sensitive to changes in face velocity and particle charge. Relative to the NIOSH method, users of the ASTM F2299/F2100 method have commonly used non-neutralized (highly charged) aerosols as well as smaller face velocities, each of which may result in approximately 10% higher measured filtration efficiencies. In the NIOSH method, environmental conditioning at elevated humidity increased filtration efficiency in some commercial samples while decreasing it in others, indicating that measurement should be performed both with and without conditioning. More generally, our results provide an experimental basis for the comparison of respirators certified under various international methods, including FFP2, KN95, P2, Korea 1st Class, and DS2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Equipment Design , Filtration
9.
IEEE Pulse ; 12(5): 15-18, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1494331

ABSTRACT

Given the urgency of our climate change problem, a trip to the hospital can be more than just a bit disconcerting for what it reveals about waste. From disposable blood pressure cuffs and one-use plastic medical gowns to powerful air filtration systems that consume immense quantities of energy, waste seems rife. Hospitals might argue that many of these measures are necessary to tamp down hospital-acquired infections, and indeed the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has required that hospitals dial up their air purification systems to battle COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Conservation of Energy Resources , Conservation of Natural Resources , Medical Waste , Filtration , Humans , Protective Clothing , SARS-CoV-2
10.
Nanotechnology ; 33(6)2021 Nov 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1493587

ABSTRACT

Wearing a face mask has become a necessity following the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease, where its effectiveness in containing the pandemic has been confirmed. Nevertheless, the pandemic has revealed major deficiencies in the ability to manufacture and ramp up worldwide production of efficient surgical-grade face masks. As a result, many researchers have focused their efforts on the development of low cost, smart and effective face covers. In this article, following a short introduction concerning face mask requirements, the different nanotechnology-enabled techniques for achieving better protection against the SARS-CoV-2 virus are reviewed, including the development of nanoporous and nanofibrous membranes in addition to triboelectric nanogenerators based masks, which can filter the virus using various mechanisms such as straining, electrostatic attraction and electrocution. The development of nanomaterials-based mask coatings to achieve virus repellent and sterilizing capabilities, including antiviral, hydrophobic and photothermal features are also discussed. Finally, the usability of nanotechnology-enabled face masks is discussed and compared with that of current commercial-grade N95 masks. To conclude, we highlight the challenges associated with the quick transfer of nanomaterials-enabled face masks and provide an overall outlook of the importance of nanotechnology in counteracting the COVID-19 and future pandemics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Masks , Nanotechnology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Filtration , Humans , Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions , Nanofibers/chemistry , Nanostructures/chemistry , User-Centered Design
11.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 19910, 2021 10 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1462025

ABSTRACT

Face masks are a primary preventive measure against airborne pathogens. Thus, they have become one of the keys to controlling the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Common examples, including N95 masks, surgical masks, and face coverings, are passive devices that minimize the spread of suspended pathogens by inserting an aerosol-filtering barrier between the user's nasal and oral cavities and the environment. However, the filtering process does not adapt to changing pathogen levels or other environmental factors, which reduces its effectiveness in real-world scenarios. This paper addresses the limitations of passive masks by proposing ADAPT, a smart IoT-enabled "active mask". This wearable device contains a real-time closed-loop control system that senses airborne particles of different sizes near the mask by using an on-board particulate matter (PM) sensor. It then intelligently mitigates the threat by using mist spray, generated by a piezoelectric actuator, to load nearby aerosol particles such that they rapidly fall to the ground. The system is controlled by an on-board micro-controller unit that collects sensor data, analyzes it, and activates the mist generator as necessary. A custom smartphone application enables the user to remotely control the device and also receive real-time alerts related to recharging, refilling, and/or decontamination of the mask before reuse. Experimental results on a working prototype confirm that aerosol clouds rapidly fall to the ground when the mask is activated, thus significantly reducing PM counts near the user. Also, usage of the mask significantly increases local relative humidity levels.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Inhalation Exposure/prevention & control , Masks , Particulate Matter/isolation & purification , Respiratory Protective Devices , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Aerosols/isolation & purification , Air Microbiology , Equipment Design , Filtration/instrumentation , Humans , Mobile Applications , Particle Size , Smart Materials/chemistry , Smartphone
12.
PLoS One ; 16(10): e0258191, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1456093

ABSTRACT

Face coverings are a key component of preventive health measure strategies to mitigate the spread of respiratory illnesses. In this study five groups of masks were investigated that are of particular relevance to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic: re-usable, fabric two-layer and multi-layer masks, disposable procedure/surgical masks, KN95 and N95 filtering facepiece respirators. Experimental work focussed on the particle penetration through mask materials as a function of particle diameter, and the total inward leakage protection performance of the mask system. Geometric mean fabric protection factors varied from 1.78 to 144.5 for the fabric two-layer and KN95 materials, corresponding to overall filtration efficiencies of 43.8% and 99.3% using a flow rate of 17 L/min, equivalent to a breathing expiration rate for a person in a sedentary or standing position conversing with another individual. Geometric mean total inward leakage protection factors for the 2-layer, multi-layer and procedure masks were <2.3, while 6.2 was achieved for the KN95 masks. The highest values were measured for the N95 group at 165.7. Mask performance is dominated by face seal leakage. Despite the additional filtering layers added to cloth masks, and the higher filtration efficiency of the materials used in disposable procedure and KN95 masks, the total inward leakage protection factor was only marginally improved. N95 FFRs were the only mask group investigated that provided not only high filtration efficiency but high total inward leakage protection, and remain the best option to protect individuals from exposure to aerosol in high risk settings. The Mask Quality Factor and total inward leakage performance are very useful to determine the best options for masking. However, it is highly recommended that testing is undertaken on prospective products, or guidance is sought from impartial authorities, to confirm they meet any implied standards.


Subject(s)
Filtration/instrumentation , Masks/statistics & numerical data , N95 Respirators/statistics & numerical data , Textiles , Equipment Reuse , Inhalation Exposure/prevention & control
13.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 19888, 2021 10 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1454817

ABSTRACT

To cope with the shortage of filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, healthcare institutions were forced to reuse FFRs after applying different decontamination methods including gamma-irradiation (GIR). The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of GIR on the filtration efficiency (FE) of FFRs and on SARS-CoV-2 detection. The FE of 2 FFRs types (KN95 and N95-3 M masks) was assessed at different particle sizes (0.3-5 µm) following GIR (0-15 kGy) delivered at either typical (1.65 kGy/h) or low (0.5088 kGy/h) dose rates. The detection of two SARS-CoV-2 RNA genes (E and RdRp4) following GIR (0-50 kGy) was carried out using RT-qPCR assay. Both masks showed an overall significant (P < 0.001) reduction in FE with increased GIR doses. No significant differences were observed between GIR dose rates on FE. The GIR exhibited significant increases (P ≤ 0.001) in the cycle threshold values (ΔCt) of both genes, with no detection following high doses. In conclusion, complete degradation of SARS-CoV-2 RNA can be achieved by high GIR (≥ 30 kGy), suggesting its potential use in FFRs decontamination. However, GIR exhibited adverse effects on FE in dose- and particle size-dependent manners, rendering its use to decontaminate FFRs debatable.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Decontamination/methods , Masks , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Ventilators, Mechanical , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , Filtration , Gamma Rays , Humans , Particle Size
14.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 19403, 2021 09 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1447324

ABSTRACT

The ongoing worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 has set personal protective equipment in the spotlight. A significant number of countries impose the use of facemasks in public spaces and encourage it in the private sphere. Even in countries where relatively high vaccination rates are achieved at present, breakthrough infections have been frequently reported and usage of facemasks in certain settings has been recommended again. Alternative solutions, including community masks fabricated using various materials, such as cotton or jersey, have emerged alongside facemasks following long-established standards (e.g., EN 149, EN 14683). In the present work, we present a computational model to calculate the ability of different types of facemasks to reduce the exposure to virus-laden respiratory particles, with a focus on the relative importance of the filtration properties and the fitting on the wearer's face. The model considers the facemask and the associated leakage, the transport of respiratory particles and their accumulation around the emitter, as well as the fraction of the inhaled particles deposited in the respiratory system. Different levels of leakages are considered to represent the diversity of fittings likely to be found among a population of non-trained users. The leakage prevails over the filtration performance of a facemask in determining the exposure level, and the ability of a face protection to limit leakages needs to be taken into account to accurately estimate the provided protection. Filtering facepieces (FFP) provide a better protection efficiency than surgical and community masks due to their higher filtration efficiency and their ability to provide a better fit and thus reduce the leakages. However, an improperly-fitted FFP mask loses a critical fraction of its protection efficiency, which may drop below the protection level provided by properly-worn surgical and community masks.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , Filtration/instrumentation , Masks/standards , SARS-CoV-2 , Aerosols , Air Microbiology , COVID-19/virology , Disease Transmission, Infectious/prevention & control , Filtration/standards , Humans , Inhalation Exposure/prevention & control , Models, Theoretical , Particle Size
15.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 19216, 2021 09 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1442804

ABSTRACT

Global health organizations recommend the use of cloth face coverings to slow the spread of COVID-19. Seemingly overnight, companies whose primary business is in no way related to healthcare or personal protective equipment-from mattresses manufacturers to big box stores-transitioned into the "mask business." Many companies advertise antimicrobial masks containing silver, copper, or other antimicrobials. Often, the techniques used to load such antimicrobials onto mask fibers are undisclosed, and the potential for metal leaching from these masks is yet unknown. We exposed nine so-called "antimicrobial" face masks (and one 100% cotton control mask) to deionized water, laundry detergent, and artificial saliva to quantify the leachable silver and copper that may occur during mask washing and wearing. Leaching varied widely across manufacturer, metal, and leaching solution, but in some cases was as high as 100% of the metals contained in the as-received mask after 1 h of exposure.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Masks , Personal Protective Equipment , Anti-Infective Agents , Filtration , Humans , Masks/virology , Metals , Personal Protective Equipment/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Textiles
16.
J Aerosol Med Pulm Drug Deliv ; 34(5): 293-302, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1440594

ABSTRACT

Background: The precaution of airborne transmission of viruses, such as influenza, SARS, MERS, and COVID-19, is essential for reducing infection. In this study, we applied a zero-valent nanosilver/titania-chitosan (nano-Ag0/TiO2-CS) filter bed, whose broad-spectrum antimicrobial efficacy has been proven previously, for the removal of viral aerosols to minimize the risk of airborne transmission. Methods: The photochemical deposition method was used to synthesize the nano-Ag0/TiO2-CS antiviral material. The surface morphology, elemental composition, and microstructure of the nano-Ag0/TiO2-CS were analyzed by a scanning electron microscopy/energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and a transmission electron microscopy, respectively. The MS2 bacteriophages were used as surrogate viral aerosols. The antiviral efficacy of nano-Ag0/TiO2-CS was evaluated by the MS2 plaque reduction assay (PRA) and filtration experiments. In the filtration experiments, the MS2 aerosols passed through the nano-Ag0/TiO2-CS filter, and the MS2 aerosol removal efficiency was evaluated by an optical particle counter and culture method. Results and Conclusions: In the MS2 PRA, 3 g of nano-Ag0/TiO2-CS inactivated 97% of MS2 bacteriophages in 20 mL liquid culture (2 ± 0.5 × 1016 PFU/mL) within 2 hours. The removal efficiency of nano-Ag0/TiO2-CS filter (thickness: 6 cm) for MS2 aerosols reached up to 93%. Over 95% of MS2 bacteriophages on the surface of the nano-Ag0/TiO2-CS filter were inactivated within 20 minutes. The Wells-Riley model predicted that when the nano-Ag0/TiO2-CS filter was used in the ventilation system, airborne infection probability would reduce from 99% to 34.6%. The nano-Ag0/TiO2-CS filter could remain at 50% of its original antiviral efficiency after continuous operation for 1 week, indicating its feasibility for the control of the airborne transmission.


Subject(s)
Air Filters , Air Microbiology , Chitosan/chemistry , Filtration/instrumentation , Inhalation Exposure/prevention & control , Levivirus/isolation & purification , Metal Nanoparticles , Silver/chemistry , Titanium/chemistry , Aerosols , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , Equipment Design , Humans , Inhalation Exposure/adverse effects , Levivirus/pathogenicity , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
17.
ACS Appl Mater Interfaces ; 13(40): 47996-48008, 2021 Oct 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1440455

ABSTRACT

Use of masks is a primary tool to prevent the spread of the novel COVID-19 virus resulting from unintentional close contact with infected individuals. However, detailed characterization of the chemical properties and physical structure of common mask materials is lacking in the current literature. In this study, a series of commercial masks and potential mask materials, including 3M Particulate Respirator 8210 N95, a material provided by Oak Ridge National Laboratory Carbon Fiber Technology Facility (ORNL/CFTF), and a Filti Face Mask Material, were characterized by a suite of techniques, including scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, Raman spectroscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Wetting properties of the mask materials were quantified by measurements of contact angle with a saliva substitute. Mask pass-through experiments were performed using a dispersed metal oxide nanoparticle suspension to model the SARS-CoV-2 virus, with quantification via spatially resolved X-ray fluorescence mapping. Notably, all mask materials tested provided a strong barrier against respiratory droplet breakthrough. The comparisons and characterizations provided in this study provide useful information when evaluating mask materials for respiratory protection.


Subject(s)
Filtration , Masks , Materials Testing/methods , N95 Respirators , COVID-19/prevention & control , Metal Nanoparticles/chemistry , Microscopy, Electron, Scanning , Photoelectron Spectroscopy , Polyesters/chemistry , Polypropylenes/chemistry , Porosity , SARS-CoV-2 , Spectrum Analysis, Raman , Wettability , X-Ray Diffraction
18.
J Colloid Interface Sci ; 606(Pt 2): 961-970, 2022 Jan 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1391399

ABSTRACT

The usage of single-use face masks (SFMs) has increased since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. However, non-degradability and mismanagement of SFMs have raised serious environmental concerns. Moreover, both melt-blown and nanofiber-based mask filters inevitably suffer from poor filtration performance, like a continuous decrease in the removal efficiency for particulate matter (PM) and weak breathability. Herein, we report a new method to create biodegradable and reusable fibrous mask filters. The filter consists of a true nanoscale bio-based poly(lactic acid) (PLA) fiber (an average size of 37 ± 4 nm) that is fabricated via electrospinning of an extremely dilute solution. Furthermore, we designed a multiscale structure with integrated features, such as low basis weight (0.91 g m-2), small pore size (0.73 µm), and high porosity (91.72%), formed by electrospinning deposition of true nanoscale fibers on large pore of 3D scaffold nanofiber membranes. The resultant mask filter exhibited a high filtration efficiency (PM0.3-99.996%) and low pressure drop (104 Pa) superior to the commercial N95 filter. Importantly, this filter has a durable filtering efficiency for PM and natural biodegradability based on PLA. Therefore, this study offers an innovative strategy for the preparation of PLA nanofibers and provides a new design for high-performance nanofiber filters.


Subject(s)
Nanofibers , Filtration , Particulate Matter , Polyesters
19.
ACS Nano ; 14(7): 9188-9200, 2020 07 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387153

ABSTRACT

Filtration efficiency (FE), differential pressure (ΔP), quality factor (QF), and construction parameters were measured for 32 cloth materials (14 cotton, 1 wool, 9 synthetic, 4 synthetic blends, and 4 synthetic/cotton blends) used in cloth masks intended for protection from the SARS-CoV-2 virus (diameter 100 ± 10 nm). Seven polypropylene-based fiber filter materials were also measured including surgical masks and N95 respirators. Additional measurements were performed on both multilayered and mixed-material samples of natural, synthetic, or natural-synthetic blends to mimic cloth mask construction methods. Materials were microimaged and tested against size selected NaCl aerosol with particle mobility diameters between 50 and 825 nm. Three of the top five best performing samples were woven 100% cotton with high to moderate yarn counts, and the other two were woven synthetics of moderate yarn counts. In contrast to recently published studies, samples utilizing mixed materials did not exhibit a significant difference in the measured FE when compared to the product of the individual FE for the components. The FE and ΔP increased monotonically with the number of cloth layers for a lightweight flannel, suggesting that multilayered cloth masks may offer increased protection from nanometer-sized aerosol with a maximum FE dictated by breathability (i.e., ΔP).


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Masks/standards , Pandemics/prevention & control , Personal Protective Equipment/standards , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Respiratory Protective Devices/standards , Textiles/standards , Aerosols/chemistry , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , COVID-19 , Filtration , Humans , Masks/virology , Nanoparticles/chemistry , Nanoparticles/virology , Personal Protective Equipment/virology , Respiratory Protective Devices/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Textiles/adverse effects , Textiles/virology
20.
ACS Nano ; 14(6): 7651-7658, 2020 06 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387149

ABSTRACT

Layered systems of commonly available fabric materials can be used by the public and healthcare providers in face masks to reduce the risk of inhaling viruses with protection that is about equivalent to or better than the filtration and adsorption offered by 5-layer N95 respirators. Over 70 different common fabric combinations and masks were evaluated under steady-state, forced convection air flux with pulsed aerosols that simulate forceful respiration. The aerosols contain fluorescent virus-like nanoparticles to track transmission through materials that greatly assist the accuracy of detection, thus avoiding artifacts including pore flooding and the loss of aerosol due to evaporation and droplet breakup. Effective materials comprise both absorbent, hydrophilic layers and barrier, hydrophobic layers. Although the hydrophobic layers can adhere virus-like nanoparticles, they may also repel droplets from adjacent absorbent layers and prevent wicking transport across the fabric system. Effective designs are noted with absorbent layers comprising terry cloth towel, quilting cotton, and flannel. Effective designs are noted with barrier layers comprising nonwoven polypropylene, polyester, and polyaramid.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Masks , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Textiles , Aerosols , Air Microbiology , Betacoronavirus/ultrastructure , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Filtration , Humans , In Vitro Techniques , Masks/supply & distribution , Nanoparticles/ultrastructure , Particle Size , Permeability , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , SARS-CoV-2 , Water
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