Particle-Size-Dependent Filtration Efficiency, Breathability, and Flow Resistance of Face Coverings and Common Household Fabrics Used for Face Masks During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Olukayode James Ayodeji, Terrell A. Hilliard, Seshadri Ramkumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the increase in demand for protective equipment caused a global shortage and homemade barrier face coverings were recommended as alternatives. However, filtration performances of homemade face coverings have not been fully evaluated. Test methods in the ASTM standard (F3502-21) were used to evaluate filtration efficiencies (FE) and breathability (pressure drop, Δp) of face coverings and home fabric materials commonly used during the pandemic. Submicron particulates FE was measured by particle transmission through face covering samples using a Condensation Particle Counter equipped with differential mobility analyzer and electronic manometer. Flow resistance of 0.1 μm-diameter fluorescent nanoparticles in droplets was determined by measuring fluorescence intensity of residual collected at the reverse side of samples. The size-dependent FE (3–94%) and Δp (0.8–72 mmH2O) varied considerably among fabrics. Of the 16 mask types, 31.25% and 81.25% met the minimum FE and breathability standards in the ASTM F3502-21, respectively. Overall performance (qF) was highest for velcro masks (max qF = 3.36, min qF = 2.80) and lowest for Dutch wax print fabrics (max qF = 0.12, min qF = 0.03). Most of the samples resisted the flow of 0.1 µm-diameter nanoparticles in droplets. Low flow resistance was observed in bandana, neck gaiter, t-shirt I, tank top and bedspread fabrics. GSM and fabric finishing seems to affect performance. Low performances can be improved by selecting optimum-performance fabrics in the design and manufacture of barrier face coverings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Face covering
  • Filtration
  • Flow resistance
  • Pressure differentiation

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Particle-Size-Dependent Filtration Efficiency, Breathability, and Flow Resistance of Face Coverings and Common Household Fabrics Used for Face Masks During the COVID-19 Pandemic'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this