Although many regions are rolling back their COVID-19 mask requirements, there are still plenty of situations which call for extra protection. Now, researchers have developed a nano-fiber filter using polymer nano-threads which can capture 99.9 percent of all coronavirus aerosols they encounter. That’s far more protection than any current mask can provide.
“Our work is the first study to use coronavirus aerosols for evaluating filtration efficiency of face masks and air filters,” says corresponding author Yun Shen, a UC Riverside assistant professor of chemical and environmental engineering, in a university release. “Previous studies have used surrogates of saline solution, polystyrene beads, and bacteriophages — a group of viruses that infect bacteria.”
Engineers from UC Riverside and The George Washington University investigated and compared how well surgical and cotton masks, a neck gaiter, and electrospun nanofiber membranes could contain and destroy coronavirus aerosols. Results show the cotton mask and neck gaiter eliminated roughly 45 to 73 percent of the aerosols. Meanwhile, the surgical mask took care of 98 percent of virus particles. Ultimately, the electrospun nanofiber membranes are the clear-cut superior option with 99.9 percent efficiency.