Special Issue on COVID-19 Aerosol Drivers, Impacts and Mitigation (XIV)

Soleiman Bourrous This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1, Mathieu Barrault1, Victor Mocho1, Stéphane Poirier1, Nathalie Bardin-Monnier2, Augustin Charvet2, Dominique Thomas2, Alexandre Bescond3, Axel Fouqueau3, Tatiana Mace, François Gaie-Levrel3, François-Xavier Ouf1 

1 Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire (IRSN), PSN-RES, SCA, Gif-Sur-Yvette, 91192, France
2 Université de Lorraine, CNRS, LRGP, F-54000 Nancy, France
3 Laboratoire national de métrologie et d’essais (LNE), 75015 Paris, France

Received: November 3, 2020
Revised: January 13, 2021
Accepted: February 16, 2021

 Copyright The Author's institutions. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited. 

Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.200615  

Cite this article:

Bourrous, S., Barrault, M., Mocho, V., Poirier, S., Bardin-Monnier, N., Charvet, A., Thomas, D., Bescond, A., Fouqueau, A., Mace, T., Gaie-Levrel, F., Ouf, F. (2021). A Performance Evaluation and Inter-laboratory Comparison of Community Face Coverings Media in the Context of COVID-19 Pandemic. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 21, 200615. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.200615


  • An inter-laboratory comparison for filtration performances measurement has been done.
  • A statistic description of performances has been done for three types of media.
  • Correlation between efficiency for various particle size and permeability is proposed.


During the recent pandemic of SARS-CoV-2, and as a reaction to the worldwide shortage of surgical masks, several countries have introduced new types of masks named “community face coverings” (CoFC). To ensure the quality of such devices and their relevance to slow down the virus spreading, a quick reaction of the certification organisms was necessary to fix the minimal acceptable performances requirements. Moreover, many laboratories involved in the aerosol research field have been asked to perform tests in a quick time according to (CEN, 2020) proposed by the European committee for standardization. This specification imposes a minimal air permeability of 96 L m–2 s–1 for a 100 Pa pressure drop and a minimal filtration efficiency of 70% for 3 µm diameter particles.

In the present article, an intercomparison of efficiencies and permeabilities measured by 3 laboratories has been performed. Results are in good agreement considering the heterogeneity of the material samples (within 27% in terms of filtration efficiency and less than 20% in terms of permeability).

On this basis, an analysis of 233 materials made of woven, non-woven and mixed fibrous material has been done in terms of filtration efficiency and air permeability. For some of them, measurements have been performed for 0.2 µm, 1 µm and 3 µm particle diameters. As expected, no deterministic correlation could be determined to link these efficiencies to the permeability of the considered samples. However, a trend could be identified for woven and mixed materials with an increase of filtration efficiency when the air permeability decreases.

The same exercise has been conducted to link the filtration efficiency measured at 3 µm to the one for lower diameters.

Finally, a discussion on the kind of material that is the most relevant to manufacture CoFC supported by spectral filtration efficiency values (from 0.02 µm to 3 µm) is proposed.

Keywords: Respirator mask, inter-comparison, Filtration efficiency, Fibrous material

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