A study on the “Effectiveness of Common Fabrics to Block Aqueous Aerosols of Virus-like Nanoparticles” showed that in an aqueous media under positive pressure of 20 Kilo Pascal, stimulating a sneeze/cough, the top performer face mask was one constructed using fabrics manufactured by AKAS Textiles, a Pennsylvania-based textile manufacturer. The study by Northeastern University’s Department of Chemical Engineering tested more than 70 different common fabric combinations and masks, including the N95 respirator, for their ability to block the transmission of virus-like nanoparticles. The mask with the best filtration was made of layers of ProCool® Performance Fabrics combined with Zorb® 3D Stay Dry Dimple fabric. The combination of these fabrics tested 72 percent more effective than the N95 respirator.
The study was published recently in ACS Nano, a monthly, peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the American Chemical Society. The authors wrote, “Layered systems of commonly available fabric materials can be used by the public and health-care 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 five-layer N95 respirators. The masks were evaluated with steady-state, forced convection air flux with pulsed aerosols that simulate forceful respiration.” The study was done at 14 liters per minute air flow, which is more than twice the human ventilation, at rest.
ProCool Performance Fabrics are two-sided fabrics that are inter-knitted to provide filtration. Special wicking fibers help in managing the moisture. Zorb 3D Stay Dry Dimple is made with surface layers of wicking Stay Dry fibers with an innermost core of dense cellulosic fibers, which work as the filter. This three-dimensional in-house engineered pattern provides filtration and keeps the mouth area dry and fresh.
“In February we offered our customers some guidance on layering fabrics for face mask, using our knowledge of fabric engineering, that leveraged the hydrophilic and hydrophobic characteristics of various fabric combinations,” says Archana Sharma, CEO of Wazoodle Fabrics, the distribution company for AKAS Textiles. “It is very gratifying to know that our assumptions and recommendations were on the right track, and that the performance of our fabrics can help keep people safe.”