Week 4: Say it, don’t spray it

In Week 4, we looked at different types of textiles including materials used in face masks and other protective clothing. Phillip Strader co-hosted the show and shared his expertise.

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9 thoughts on “Week 4: Say it, don’t spray it

  1. Does a quarantine mask’s effectiveness come from how tightly it’s woven/made, or are there also other factors?

    • Great question! Yes, it will depend greatly on how the mask is made. If you have large spaces between your mask fibers, then virus particles can easily travel through it. If you have a material that is tightly packed together, it is harder for virus particles to make their way through the mask. That’s why it’s better to use woven fibers than knit fibers; the spaces between woven fibers are smaller than knit fibers.

      For more information check out this article: https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/making-your-own-face-mask-some-fabrics-work-better-others-n1175966

    • Isabela-

      There are a lot of factors, but mostly the fabrics effectiveness for filtering particles/viruses come from its fiber sizes and pore sizes – the smaller these are, the smaller particles it can trap. These factors are usually dependent on each other, and there can be other factors including fabric density and thickness.

    • Patima-

      Thanks for your question! Obviously the best mask would be the N95 mask which is in short supply due to high demand and low production. I have seen some masks being sold that have an insert where you can put in a replaceable HEPA filter, if you can find that material around. If you have to make your own mask using scavenged materials, a tightly woven fabric (i.e. bandana) is generally going to be better than a knitted fabric (i.e., T-shirt material). There is some recent evidence suggesting that adding a Nylon stocking AKA “panty hose” layer on top of the mask increases filtration effectiveness: (see study here)

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