Face Mask Technologies

This forum is to discuss general things concerning TSOI.
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Face Mask Technologies

Post by trader32176 »

Universities collaborate to develop COVID-19 virus-trapping materials


https://www.news-medical.net/news/20200 ... rials.aspx

Researchers around the world are racing to find treatments to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused more than 16 million human infections globally.

COVID-19 is caused by the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. A person becomes infected when the virus makes its way through the mouth or nose into the lungs and from there into the cells that line the inside of our lungs.

Exactly how the virus gets past the protective barriers in our lungs is unknown, but scientists have recently discovered that SARS-CoV-2 binds to a type of carbohydrate-based polymer called glycosaminoglycan (GAG). The widely used anticoagulant heparin belongs to this class of natural polymers, and hospitalized patients with COVID-19 who were administered heparin to treat blood clotting disorders also experienced a lower risk of dying from COVID-19.

Researchers at Virginia Tech and the University of Georgia are collaborating to explore whether the tendency of the virus to bind to carbohydrate-based polymers, such as heparin, can be used to develop virus-trapping gels and surfaces.

The virus passes a large number of carbohydrate-based molecules on its way into the cells in our body. If we can determine which carbohydrates or carbohydrate chains the virus binds to, we can develop materials that work like a fly trap and capture virus particles before they get into our bodies."

-Maren Roman, associate professor of sustainable biomaterials in Virginia Tech's College of Natural Resources and Environment and affiliated faculty member of the Fralin Life Sciences Institute.

"We will use cutting-edge computational tools to study which carbohydrate molecules bind most strongly to the virus," said Robert Woods, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, and chemistry, at the University of Georgia's Complex Carbohydrate Research Center. "This work is a natural extension of our prior work on the virus, which has given us detailed computer models of one of its surface proteins, namely the Spike protein. This protein is responsible for the virus's ability to enter cells and its tendency to bind to carbohydrates."

"Once we know exactly which carbohydrates the virus binds to, we will synthesize materials that contain these carbohydrates on a tether
," added Michael Schulz, assistant professor of chemistry in the College of Science at Virginia Tech. "We hypothesize that these materials can filter out virus particles from liquids and possibly even air streams."

The research is supported by a $200,000 National Science Foundation RAPID COVID-19 grant, with contributions from the Division of Materials Research and the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences.

"Our ability to successfully stop this pandemic depends on researchers from different fields and even institutions joining forces and collaborating." Roman said. "Only together will we figure this virus out."
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Re: Face Mask Technologies

Post by trader32176 »

CityU produces graphene face masks with excellent anti-bacterial efficiency


https://www.news-medical.net/news/20200 ... iency.aspx

Face masks have become an important tool in fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic. However, improper use or disposal of masks may lead to "secondary transmission". A research team from City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has successfully produced graphene masks with an anti-bacterial efficiency of 80%, which can be enhanced to almost 100% with exposure to sunlight for around 10 minutes.

Initial tests also showed very promising results in the deactivation of two species of coronaviruses. The graphene masks are easily produced at low cost, and can help to resolve the problems of sourcing raw materials and disposing of non-biodegradable masks.

The research is conducted by Dr Ye Ruquan, Assistant Professor from CityU's Department of Chemistry, in collaboration with other researchers. The findings were published in the scientific journal ACS Nano, titled "Self-Reporting and Photothermally Enhanced Rapid Bacterial Killing on a Laser-Induced Graphene Mask".

Commonly used surgical masks are not anti-bacterial. This may lead to the risk of secondary transmission of bacterial infection when people touch the contaminated surfaces of the used masks or discard them improperly. Moreover, the melt-blown fabrics used as a bacterial filter poses an impact on the environment as they are difficult to decompose. Therefore, scientists have been looking for alternative materials to make masks.

Converting other materials into graphene by laser

Dr Ye has been studying the use of laser-induced graphene in developing sustainable energy. When he was studying PhD degree at Rice University several years ago, the research team he participated in and led by his supervisor discovered an easy way to produce graphene. They found that direct writing on carbon-containing polyimide films (a polymeric plastic material with high thermal stability) using a commercial CO2 infrared laser system can generate 3D porous graphene. The laser changes the structure of the raw material and hence generates graphene. That's why it is named laser-induced graphene.

Graphene is known for its anti-bacterial properties, so as early as last September, before the outbreak of COVID-19, producing outperforming masks with laser-induced graphene already came across Dr Ye's mind. He then kick-started the study in collaboration with researchers from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), Nankai University, and other organisations.

Excellent anti-bacterial efficiency

The research team tested their laser-induced graphene with E. coli, and it achieved high anti-bacterial efficiency of about 82%. In comparison, the anti-bacterial efficiency of activated carbon fibre and melt-blown fabrics, both commonly-used materials in masks, were only 2% and 9% respectively. Experiment results also showed that over 90% of the E. coli deposited on them remained alive even after 8 hours, while most of the E. coli deposited on the graphene surface were dead after 8 hours. Moreover, the laser-induced graphene showed a superior anti-bacterial capacity for aerosolized bacteria.

Dr Ye said that more research on the exact mechanism of graphene's bacteria-killing property is needed. But he believed it might be related to the damage of bacterial cell membranes by graphene's sharp edge. And the bacteria may be killed by dehydration induced by the hydrophobic (water-repelling) property of graphene.

Previous studies suggested that COVID-19 would lose its infectivity at high temperatures. So the team carried out experiments to test if the graphene's photothermal effect (producing heat after absorbing light) can enhance the anti-bacterial effect. The results showed that the anti-bacterial efficiency of the graphene material could be improved to 99.998% within 10 minutes under sunlight, while activated carbon fibre and melt-blown fabrics only showed an efficiency of 67% and 85% respectively.

The team is currently working with laboratories in mainland China to test the graphene material with two species of human coronaviruses. Initial tests showed that it inactivated over 90% of the virus in five minutes and almost 100% in 10 minutes under sunlight. The team plans to conduct testings with the COVID-19 virus later.

Their next step is to further enhance the anti-virus efficiency and develop a reusable strategy for the mask. They hope to release it to the market shortly after designing an optimal structure for the mask and obtaining the certifications.

Dr Ye described the production of laser-induced graphene as a "green technique". All carbon-containing materials, such as cellulose or paper, can be converted into graphene using this technique. And the conversion can be carried out under ambient conditions without using chemicals other than the raw materials, nor causing pollution. And the energy consumption is low.

" Laser-induced graphene masks are reusable. If biomaterials are used for producing graphene, it can help to resolve the problem of sourcing raw material for masks. And it can lessen the environmental impact caused by the non-biodegradable disposable masks."

-Dr Ye Ruquan, Assistant Professor from CityU's Department of Chemistry

Dr Ye pointed out that producing laser-induced graphene is easy. Within just one and a half minutes, an area of 100 cm² can be converted into graphene as the outer or inner layer of the mask. Depending on the raw materials for producing the graphene, the price of the laser-induced graphene mask is expected to be between that of surgical mask and N95 mask. He added that by adjusting laser power, the size of the pores of the graphene material can be modified so that the breathability would be similar to surgical masks.

A new way to check the condition of the mask

To facilitate users to check whether graphene masks are still in good condition after being used for a period of time, the team fabricated a hygroelectric generator. It is powered by electricity generated from the moisture in human breath. By measuring the change in the moisture-induced voltage when the user breathes through a graphene mask, it provides an indicator of the condition of the mask. Experiment results showed that the more the bacteria and atmospheric particles accumulated on the surface of the mask, the lower the voltage resulted. "The standard of how frequently a mask should be changed is better to be decided by the professionals. Yet, this method we used may serve as a reference," suggested Dr Ye.

Dr Ye is one of the corresponding authors of the paper. The other two corresponding authors are Professor Tang Benzhong from HKUST, and Dr Zhu Chunlei from Nankai University. The first author of the paper is Huang Libei, Dr Ye's PhD student. Other CityU team members are Xu Siyu, Su Jianjun, and Song Yun, all from the Department of Chemistry. Other collaborators included researchers from HKUST, Nankai University, as well as Dr Chen Sijie of the Ming Wai Lau Centre for Reparative Medicine, Karolinska Institutet.
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Re: Face Mask Technologies

Post by trader32176 »

Researchers Develop Self-disinfecting, Reusable Protective Face Mask

https://www.newswise.com/articles/resea ... -face-mask

Researchers from the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering have developed a self-disinfecting, reusable protective face mask. The disinfection process occurs when a layer of carbon fibers in the mask is heated using a low current source, such as an electric mobile phone charger. A patent application for the invention has been submitted in the United States.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for protective face masks has skyrocketed in recent months. Wearing masks is now a requirement, along with social distancing and hygiene measures. There is a wide range of masks available, from homemade cloth masks to the N95 masks used by medical professionals and frontline responders. Authorities insist on the correct usage of masks, which means replacing them daily, even if they are kept clean and dry during the day.

These regulations, along with the urgent need to provide masks for the medical staff caring for coronavirus patients, has led to a surge in demand for these masks and a search for manufacturers and suppliers. In the U.S., for example, approximately 3.5 billion masks are required in order to protect against an acute epidemic – 100 times more than the number of masks readily available. An immediate shortage of masks also occurred in Israel and was accelerated when the Ministry of Health announced that mask-wearing is mandatory.

Professor Yair Ein-Eli, Dean of the Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering, developed a reusable face mask that can be heated in a controlled manner – a process that destroys viruses that have accumulated on the mask – and renders it reusable. The new technology is based on an inner layer of carbon fibers spread within the mask in a homogeneous manner. When the layer of fibers is heated using a low current (2 amps) from a readily available source – such as a mobile phone charger, USB connection, or other mobile electronic device chargers – the viruses are destroyed.

Prof. Ein-Eli’s research group created the mask prototype and tested it together with Professor Debbie Lindell and Professor Oded Beja from the Faculty of Biology. A patent was submitted in the U.S. on March 31, and the research group is currently discussing commercialization with industrial companies.
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Re: Face Mask Technologies

Post by trader32176 »

Face Masks in the New COVID-19 Normal: Materials, Testing, and Perspectives

Published 07 Aug 2020

https://spj.sciencemag.org/journals/res ... 0/7286735/

(This is a very long read , but worth the time to understand the basics of face mask technologies)


The increasing prevalence of infectious diseases in recent decades has posed a serious threat to public health. Routes of transmission differ, but the respiratory droplet or airborne route has the greatest potential to disrupt social intercourse, while being amenable to prevention by the humble face mask. Different types of masks give different levels of protection to the user. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has even resulted in a global shortage of face masks and the raw materials that go into them, driving individuals to self-produce masks from household items. At the same time, research has been accelerated towards improving the quality and performance of face masks, e.g., by introducing properties such as antimicrobial activity and superhydrophobicity. This review will cover mask-wearing from the public health perspective, the technical details of commercial and home-made masks, and recent advances in mask engineering, disinfection, and materials and discuss the sustainability of mask-wearing and mask production into the future.
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Re: Face Mask Technologies

Post by trader32176 »

This is a small list of companies with emerging face mask technologies

(this list is for informational / educational purposes only , and not spam , or a recommendation to buy any of these masks)

UAE-based ViroMasks claims newly launched face mask can eliminate COVID-19 virus within 30 minutes
The masks use Swiss company HeiQ's Viroblock "intelligent textile technology", which was designed to eliminate a range of bacteria and viruses.

https://www.mobihealthnews.com/news/eur ... rus-within

Ascend Creates New Mask Technology To Protect Against COVID-19

http://www.northescambia.com/2020/07/as ... h-escambia

What do we know about the face mask that promises to inactivate COVID-19?

https://newseu.cgtn.com/news/2020-08-01 ... index.html

Self-Cleaning Mask with Antimicrobial Technology Deactivates 99% of Coronavirus Suspension in Minutes

https://www.hospimedica.com/covid-19/ar ... nutes.html

Developing antiviral mask technology in a pandemic

https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/dev ... 83.article

Japanese Startup Creates 'Connected' Face Mask for Coronavirus New Normal
The white plastic "c-mask" fits over standard face masks and connects via Bluetooth to a smartphone and tablet application.

https://gadgets.ndtv.com/science/news/j ... al-2252782

Spacesuit Technology Could Be in Your Face Mask
Serionix’s novel material filters toxic particles in space. Soon, its creators will know if it protects against the coronavirus.

https://builtin.com/founders-entreprene ... irus-masks

SINTX Technologies Announces New Antiviral Test Results
Research targets the development of face masks and other products that inactivate viruses

https://www.sintx.com/news-media/press- ... st-results
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Re: Face Mask Technologies

Post by trader32176 »

From new ultraviolet wavelengths to virucidal face masks: Could these new technologies help defeat coronavirus?

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/scie ... 99886.html

Scientists and health experts believe that the government should examine a range of new antiviral technologies while planning their lockdown exit strategy.

They say that there are at least half a dozen such technologies and strategies that could be combined to help make any exit strategy more effective – and help avoid a second peak in Covid-19 infections and deaths.

Potentially useful technologies include newly-developed anti-surface-contamination products, virucidal face masks, and new ultraviolet light and virus-detection ioniser systems.

Health experts believe that plans should immediately be formulated to commission the manufacture and supply of a range of vital equipment that would be needed in order to deploy those technologies - some as part of an exit strategy and others to prevent a potential second pandemic wave later this year.

“Each technology and strategy is capable of helping to reduce the transmission of coronavirus - but by deploying a range of them, as part of an integrated coordinated national anti-viral program, the impact would almost certainly be much greater,” said Professor Kevin Bampton, the chief executive of the British Occupational Hygiene Society, which represents 1,600 UK professionals involved in disease prevention and health security in factories, offices and other workplaces throughout Britain.

Health experts also see the emerging new technologies as important weapons against future pandemics.

“Emerging new technologies have the potential to play a very major role in helping Britain and the wider world defeat Covid-19 and indeed other pandemics that will almost certainly threaten us in the future,” said Dr William Keevil, Professor of Environmental Healthcare in Southampton University's School of Biological Sciences and Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

“Antibiotics don't work against viruses and antivirals are almost non-existent – and so deploying infection prevention technologies is crucial,” said Professor Keevil.
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Re: Face Mask Technologies

Post by trader32176 »

Scarcity of key material squeezes manufacturing of medical masks for COVID-19 protections


https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/20 ... 463949001/

FRESNO, Calif. – Rachel Spray is still grieving the loss of her fellow nurse who died after being exposed to the novel coronavirus at Kaiser Permanente Fresno Medical Center in California. Now, as she stands in front of the gleaming glass and concrete hospital, she says she “dreads going in there” and fears she’ll be next.

That’s because like those in many U.S. hospitals, management is rationing supplies, she says, keeping medical-grade masks under lock and key.

White House officials say U.S. hospitals have all the medical supplies needed to battle the deadly virus, but front-line health care workers, hospital officials and even the Food and Drug Administration say shortages persist. Critical shortfalls of medical N95 respirators, commonly referred to as N95 masks, and other protective gear started in March, when the pandemic hit New York. Pressure on the medical supply chain continues today, and in “many ways things have only gotten worse,” the American Medical Association’s president, Dr. Susan Bailey, said in a recent statement.

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Manufacturers say they risk significant losses if they invest millions in machinery, raw materials, new employees and factory space to churn out a product projected to have a short-lived demand, without assurances that the government will continue to buy their meltblown textile after the need for N95s recedes post-pandemic.

“I’m not going to sit here and tell you that we’re going to guarantee purchases in 2021 or whatever date you pick,” said Rear Adm. John Polowczyk, who heads the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Supply Chain Stabilization Task Force. He denies there are shortages.

Meltblown textiles are used in everything from diapers to air conditioners. Electrostatically charging meltblown gives it the ability to capture particles too tiny to be filtered by regular masks.

A study published this summer in the medical journal The Lancet found that front-line workers without N95 masks who cared for COVID-19 patients have the highest risk of infection.

“The initial lack of personal protective equipment in nursing homes, and lack of infection control practices in general, contributed to a general community spread across the country,” said Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Andrew T. Chan, one of the authors.

But that personal protective equipment just wasn’t available early in the pandemic when demand for the disposable masks and gowns exploded. It still isn’t.

Before COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, the government estimated that the U.S. would need more than 5 billion N95 respirators per year in a pandemic. In March, the Department of Health and Human Services said the demand would be about 3.5 billion.

Those estimates were based on N95 manufacturer recommendations and hospital best practices that dictated health care workers use one mask per patient visit, so a single nurse could go through perhaps a dozen a day. But due to shortages, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention instructed health care providers to reuse them.

Because of this shift in usage, it’s hard to accurately estimate the severity of the shortages of medical-grade masks and gowns.

But today, hospital administrators – some of whom are facing new state orders to stockpile supplies – say they can’t get as many masks as they want, and the FDA included N95s on its most recent medical supply shortage list.

In Fresno, nurse Rachel Spray typically gets one N95 per shift.

Kaiser spokesman Marc Brown didn’t dispute this claim, but said the change in the way masks are used still allows the clinical staff to safely care for patients. The hospital is just carefully managing supplies, he said.

“We continue to prudently manage PPE supplies to ensure they are readily available to protect our health care workforce for the duration of this pandemic,” he said.

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro disputes reports of shortages. In an August interview, he said his office responds daily to news stories of ill-equipped medical providers, sending supplies as needed.

“We have what we need to get to people what they need,” he said.

In 2019, the U.S. produced 15% of meltblown in the world while China accounted for 45%. Navarro has long advocated moving manufacturing back to the United States, and during the Republican National Convention President Donald Trump pledged to do just that with crucial medical supplies.

“We are taking our business out of China. We are bringing it home,” he said.

But the meltblown example illustrates the failure of this administration to take necessary steps to fulfill this promise.

Meltblown is spun out of plastic pellets made from oil, typically polypropylene or polyethylene. The pellets are fed into a heated metal extruder, and jets of hot air force the liquefied plastic through an array of extremely small holes, producing fine plastic fibers. As the fibers cool, they overlap and stick together, forming a dense mesh.

This year, American meltblown makers have been ramping up supply. But some say they need more government support to meet the demand.

Mike Clark, a division president at Hollingsworth and Vose, a meltblown maker based in East Walpole, Massachusetts, said his company has tripled production of meltblown for masks by ramping up and exiting other markets. But he and other makers have reservations about investing significant amounts of their own money .

After the H1N1 epidemic in 2009, Hollingsworth and Vose purchased a new meltblown machine, but the demand for N95s plummeted when the virus dissipated, Clark said.

“We’re now confronted with the same thing,” he said. “No one will guarantee volumes past 2021. And the issue is, the lead time for one of these machines is a year, so just as we get that machine set up and installed, that demand might go away.”

The company received a government contract for $1.9 million to produce an additional 27.5 million N95 masks, but it doesn’t include long-term purchase guarantees.

“It’s half the problem solved,” Clark said. “If the government bought you a machine that’s 100% paid for, it still wouldn’t make sense to waste space in your plant, just collecting dust.”

Lydall Inc., headquartered in Manchester, Connecticut, began the pandemic with one manufacturing line pumping out rolls of meltblown. A second should be online by the end of this year, and a third by May.

“We have one of the most highly sought-after products the world over,” Lydall CEO Sara Greenstein said.

To increase production, Greenstein said the company invested more than $25 million, which she hopes will be offset by a $13.5 million government contract for meltblown materials.

Dan Reese, president of Prestige Ameritech, the largest domestic maker of medical N95 respirators, said he emptied his own savings during the H1N1 flu outbreak to expand operations and boost his output, only to end up near-bankrupt and laying off workers when demand dried up.

He currently buys meltblown fabric from wherever he can get it, and estimates it would cost $15 million and take a year to start producing his own. A machine alone costs $5 million.

“I don’t have the cash,” he said. “If we continue to ramp up our production like we plan, we’re going to run out of meltblown.” Reese said. Meltblown shortages are “restricting our ability to do what we need to do for the country.”

Under the Defense Production Act, a mechanism that allows the U.S. government to compel companies to prioritize federal orders and help manufacturers increase production capacity, some mask and meltblown makers have gotten a boost.

Between mid-April and early May, four N95 manufacturers – O&M Halyard, Honeywell, 3M and Hollingsworth and Vose – received a total of $134.5 million to increase production, including expanding existing operations and setting up new production lines. The federal government also approved smaller contracts this summer with NPS Corp. and Lydall to bolster meltblown production.

But the administration has not specifically restricted exports of meltblown material, a power it can use under the act. In the face of shortages, U.S. meltblown makers have continued exporting their goods overseas.

They’ve sent more than 40 shipping containers of meltblown material and related supplies offshore, with about 40% of it going to Pakistan, according to an AP analysis of data from Panjiva, the supply-chain research unit at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

That compares with only six shipping containers during the same period in 2019.

The DPA gives the U.S. government the authority to block exports of crucial products and materials.

Shifting manufacturing overseas made the U.S. medical supply chains vulnerable.

Greenstein of Lydall says if the U.S. wants a stable supply of medical equipment, it will have to produce all of its own meltblown.

“You can’t rely on this long-distance supply chain to provide the mission-critical elements that are a matter of life or death,” Greenstein said. “When it’s affecting everybody, the countries that have the domestic supply will prioritize their use over others.”

Moving production back to the U.S. has been a central goal of Navarro, who has warned for years about U.S. dependence on China for manufacturing. This year’s pandemic shortages, he said, “is the type of scenario I was worried about on steroids.”

But Navarro’s dream of “re-shoring” is tricky, in part because the costs of end products often rise.

U.S. health care providers are calling for significantly more government investment in domestic medical supply manufacturing, even if it raises costs.

“There’s been a big push for years to lower the costs of health care, and one of the ways to do that is to lower the costs of the products, and one of the ways to do that is to manufacture them in a place where labor and materials are cheaper,” said Teresa Dail, chief supply chain officer for Vanderbilt University Medical Center, which includes four hospitals and more than 200 clinics.

“I’m willing to bear the cost,” she said, “to ensure that we have access to products and have our pipeline more stable than what we’ve seen in a global failure like this.”

Pre-pandemic, five U.S. producers were making about 42 million N95 masks a month. By October, that is projected to have increased to 11 U.S. producers making 168 million a month, which could amount to 2 billion a year, according to the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry’s analysis of the impact COVID-19 has had on meltblown markets.

Also pre-pandemic, 24 U.S. companies were making meltblown, with 79 machine lines in operation, according to the association’s Brad Kalil. But only a fraction of that was going into medical respirators, Kalil said. By the end of 2021, he said, there will be 28 new lines in the U.S., representing a 35% increase, with almost all of the newly produced textile going into medical supplies.

The Trump administration has helped pay for seven of those lines, Kalil said. But mostly they’re being built through private investment, which he says may not pay off.

“If every single country and region decides they’re going to make their own to be self-sufficient, we’ll have way too much meltblown probably within the end of next year,” Kalil said.

Still, some U.S. companies are rolling the dice.

As Seattle became a major coronavirus hot spot this spring, the clothing and sportswear company Outdoor Research also switched gears. It had the money, two U.S. factories and highly skilled employees, so it set out to make masks, said Jason Duncan, a company vice president.

The company makes cloth masks for the general public and pursued making medical-grade masks, investing millions to convert an entire floor of its downtown headquarters into an FDA-approved facility.

Outdoor Research used its deep ties in the industry to secure meltblown material and, this summer, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health approved its N95 masks.

Where is it getting its meltblown?

“That’s a closely guarded secret,” Duncan said.
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Re: Face Mask Technologies

Post by trader32176 »

Step-by-step guide to making your own face mask


People across the country now have to wear face coverings in certain circumstances when out of the house, to help limit the spread of coronavirus. In England it is compulsory to wear one on public transport and in shops.

While medical face masks and respirators are prioritised for health and care workers, you might want to try making your own face covering, wherever you live.

Here's our guide to different types and step-by-step instructions on how to make them.

Whether you're handy with a sewing machine, like cutting up old t-shirts or just want a quick fix, the principles are the same: the more layers of material the better, and the mask needs to fit snugly around the face, and you should be able to breathe comfortably.

One study has shown that the best materials to use are tightly woven cottons or twill, natural silk or quilted cotton material. But you can also make do with what you have around your home.
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Re: Face Mask Technologies

Post by trader32176 »

Engineers Have Created a Reusable Rubber Filtering Face Mask

https://www.technologynetworks.com/appl ... ask-337809

Researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital have designed a new face mask that they believe could stop viral particles as effectively as N95 masks. Unlike N95 masks, the new masks were designed to be easily sterilized and used many times.

As the number of new Covid-19 cases in the United States continues to rise, there is still an urgent need for N95 masks for health care workers and others. The new mask is made of durable silicone rubber and can be manufactured using injection molding, which is widely used in factories around the world. The mask also includes an N95 filter, but it requires much less N95 material than a traditional N95 mask.

“One of the key things we recognized early on was that in order to help meet the demand, we needed to really restrict ourselves to methods that could scale,” says Giovanni Traverso, an MIT assistant professor of mechanical engineering and a gastroenterologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “We also wanted to maximize the reusability of the system, and we wanted systems that could be sterilized in many different ways.”

The team is now working on a second version of the mask, based on feedback from health care workers, and is working to establish a company to support scaled-up production and seek approval from the FDA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Traverso is the senior author of a paper describing the new masks, which appears today in the British Medical Journal Open. The lead authors of the study are James Byrne, a radiation oncologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and research affiliate at MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research; Adam Wentworth, a research engineer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a research affiliate at the Koch Institute; Peter Chai, an emergency medicine physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital; and Hen-Wei Huang, a research fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a postdoc at the Koch Institute.

Easy sterilization

The N95 masks that health care workers wear to protect against exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses are made from polypropylene fibers that are specially designed to filter out tiny viral particles. Ideally, a health care worker would switch to a new mask each time they see a different patient, but shortages of these masks have forced doctors and nurses to wear them for longer than they are meant to be worn.

In recent months, many hospitals have begun sterilizing N95 masks with hydrogen peroxide vapor, which can be used up to 20 times on a single mask. However, this process requires specialized equipment that is not available everywhere, and even with this process, one mask can be worn for only a single day.

The MIT/BWH team set out to design a mask that could be safely sterilized and reused many times. They decide on silicone rubber — the material that goes into silicone baking sheets, among other products — because it is so durable. Liquid silicone rubber can be easily molded into any shape using injection molding, a highly automated process that generates products rapidly.

The masks are based on the shape of the 3M 1860 style of N95 masks, the type normally used at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Most of the mask is made of silicone rubber, and there is also space for one or two N95 filters. Those filters are designed to be replaced after every use, while the rest of the mask can be sterilized and reused.

“With this design, the filters can be popped in and then thrown away after use, and you’re throwing away a lot less material than an N95 mask,” Wentworth says.

The researchers tested several different sterilization methods on the silicone masks, including running them through an autoclave (steam sterilizer), putting them in an oven, and soaking them in bleach and in isopropyl alcohol. They found that after sterilization, the silicone material was undamaged.

Fit test

To test the comfort and fit of the masks, the researchers recruited about 20 health care workers from the emergency department and an oncology clinic at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. They had each of the subjects perform the standard fit test that is required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for N95 masks. During this test, the subject puts the mask on and then performs a series of movements to see if the mask stays in place. A nebulized sugar solution is sprayed in the room, and if the subject can taste or smell it, it means the mask is not properly fitted.

All 20 subjects passed the fit test, and they reported that they were able to successfully insert and remove the N95 filter. When asked their preference between the new mask, a typical N95 mask, and a standard surgical mask, most either said they had no preference or preferred the new silicone mask, Byrne says. They also gave the new mask high ratings for fit and breathability.

The researchers are now working on a second version of the mask, which they hope to make more comfortable and durable. They also plan to do additional lab tests measuring the masks’ ability to filter viral particles.

As many regions of the United States have seen a surge in Covid-19 cases over the past month, hospitals in those areas face the possibility of mask shortages. There is also a need for more masks in parts of the world that don’t have the equipment needed for hydrogen peroxide sterilization.

“We know that Covid is really not going away until a vaccine is prevalent,” Byrne says. “I think there’s always going to be a need for masks, whether it be in the health care setting or in the general public.”
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Re: Face Mask Technologies

Post by trader32176 »

Louis Vuitton is releasing a face shield with golden studs to protect luxury buyers from coronavirus :D

(this is for informational / educational purposes only , and not spam , or a recommendation to buy any of these masks)

Updated 12th September 2020

https://www.cnn.com/style/article/louis ... index.html

The Top Designer Face Masks to Stay Both Safe And Stylish

Last Updated: Sep 09, 2020

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