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Title: Aerosol Filtration Efficiency of Common Fabrics Used in Respiratory Cloth Masks

Abstract

The emergence of a pandemic affecting the respiratory system can result in a significant demand for face masks. This includes the use of cloth masks by large sections of the public, as can be seen during the current global spread of COVID-19. However, there is limited knowledge available on the performance of various commonly available fabrics used in cloth masks. Importantly, there is a need to evaluate filtration efficiencies as a function of aerosol particulate sizes in the 10 nm – 10 µm range, which is particularly relevant for respiratory virus transmission. We have carried out these studies for several common fabrics including cotton, silk, chiffon, flannel, various synthetics, and their combinations. While the filtration efficiencies for various fabrics when a single layer was used ranged from 5-80% and 15-95% for particle sizes <300 nm and >300 nm respectively, the efficiencies improved when multiple layers were used, and when using a specific combination of different fabrics. Filtration efficiencies of the hybrids (such as cotton-silk, cotton-chiffon, cotton-flannel) was >80 % (for particles <300 nm) and >90 % (for particles >300 nm). We speculate that the enhanced performance of the hybrids is likely due to the combined effect of mechanical and electrostatic-basedmore » filtration. Cotton, the most widely used material for cloth masks performs better at higher weave densities (i.e., threads per inch) and can make a significant difference in filtration efficiencies. Our studies also imply that gaps (as caused by an improper fit of the mask) can result in over a 60% decrease in the filtration efficiency, implying the need for future cloth mask design studies to take into account issues of “fit” and leakage, while allowing the exhaled air to vent efficiently. Overall, we find that combinations of various commonly available fabrics used in cloth masks can potentially provide significant protection against the transmission of aerosol particles.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2];  [1];  [1];  [3]; ORCiD logo [2]
  1. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Lemont, IL (United States)
  2. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Lemont, IL (United States); Univ. of Chicago, IL (United States)
  3. Univ. of Chicago, IL (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) - Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship; US Department of the Navy, Office of Naval Research (ONR); USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1631577
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-06CH11357
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
ACS Nano
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 14; Journal Issue: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 1936-0851
Publisher:
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; aerosols; cloth masks; face masks; personal protection; respiratory protection

Citation Formats

Konda, Abhiteja, Prakash, Abhinav, Moss, Gregory A., Schmoldt, Michael, Grant, Gregory D., and Guha, Supratik. Aerosol Filtration Efficiency of Common Fabrics Used in Respiratory Cloth Masks. United States: N. p., 2020. Web. doi:10.1021/acsnano.0c03252.
Konda, Abhiteja, Prakash, Abhinav, Moss, Gregory A., Schmoldt, Michael, Grant, Gregory D., & Guha, Supratik. Aerosol Filtration Efficiency of Common Fabrics Used in Respiratory Cloth Masks. United States. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsnano.0c03252
Konda, Abhiteja, Prakash, Abhinav, Moss, Gregory A., Schmoldt, Michael, Grant, Gregory D., and Guha, Supratik. Fri . "Aerosol Filtration Efficiency of Common Fabrics Used in Respiratory Cloth Masks". United States. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsnano.0c03252. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1631577.
@article{osti_1631577,
title = {Aerosol Filtration Efficiency of Common Fabrics Used in Respiratory Cloth Masks},
author = {Konda, Abhiteja and Prakash, Abhinav and Moss, Gregory A. and Schmoldt, Michael and Grant, Gregory D. and Guha, Supratik},
abstractNote = {The emergence of a pandemic affecting the respiratory system can result in a significant demand for face masks. This includes the use of cloth masks by large sections of the public, as can be seen during the current global spread of COVID-19. However, there is limited knowledge available on the performance of various commonly available fabrics used in cloth masks. Importantly, there is a need to evaluate filtration efficiencies as a function of aerosol particulate sizes in the 10 nm – 10 µm range, which is particularly relevant for respiratory virus transmission. We have carried out these studies for several common fabrics including cotton, silk, chiffon, flannel, various synthetics, and their combinations. While the filtration efficiencies for various fabrics when a single layer was used ranged from 5-80% and 15-95% for particle sizes <300 nm and >300 nm respectively, the efficiencies improved when multiple layers were used, and when using a specific combination of different fabrics. Filtration efficiencies of the hybrids (such as cotton-silk, cotton-chiffon, cotton-flannel) was >80 % (for particles <300 nm) and >90 % (for particles >300 nm). We speculate that the enhanced performance of the hybrids is likely due to the combined effect of mechanical and electrostatic-based filtration. Cotton, the most widely used material for cloth masks performs better at higher weave densities (i.e., threads per inch) and can make a significant difference in filtration efficiencies. Our studies also imply that gaps (as caused by an improper fit of the mask) can result in over a 60% decrease in the filtration efficiency, implying the need for future cloth mask design studies to take into account issues of “fit” and leakage, while allowing the exhaled air to vent efficiently. Overall, we find that combinations of various commonly available fabrics used in cloth masks can potentially provide significant protection against the transmission of aerosol particles.},
doi = {10.1021/acsnano.0c03252},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/1631577}, journal = {ACS Nano},
issn = {1936-0851},
number = 5,
volume = 14,
place = {United States},
year = {2020},
month = {4}
}

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