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

Adrian Stan This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1, Sandro Steiner1, Shoaib Majeed1, Sandra Schorderet Weber1, Samik Gosh2, Tanja Živković Semren1, Philippe Alexandre Guy1, Stefan Lebrun1, Jérôme Steinhauser3, Yanik Tardy3, Andreas Hogg3, Sophie Chiquet4, Jean-Luc Perret5, Arkadiusz Kuczaj1, Manuel Peitsch1, Julia Hoeng1

1 PMI R&D, Philip Morris Products S.A., CH-2000 Neuchâtel, Switzerland
2 SBX Technologies, Tokyo, Japan
3 Coat-X SA, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland
4 CQ Corporate Fashion GmbH, Zürich, Switzerland
5 INVENesis Sàrl, Neuchâtel, Switzerland

Received: March 9, 2021
Revised: May 12, 2021
Accepted: May 12, 2021

 Copyright The Author(s). 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.210052  

Cite this article:

Stan, A., Steiner, S., Majeed, S., Weber, S.S., Gosh, S., Semren, T.Ž., Guy, P.A., Lebrun, S., Steinhauser, J., Tardy, Y., Hogg, A., Chiquet, S., Perret, J.L., Kuczaj, A., Peitsch, M., Hoeng, J. (2021). Aerosol Filtration Testing of Fabrics for Development of Reusable Face Masks. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 21, 210052. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.210052


  • Semi-automated text mining enabled a selection of widely available fabrics.
  • Over 300 single and layered fabrics screened for aerosol filtration and breathability.
  • Fractional aerosol filtration efficiencies measured for 60 selected fabrics.
  • Particle size-selective filtration assessed with real-time particle size spectrometers.
  • Reviewed properties of commercially available reusable face masks worldwide.


The ongoing outbreak of coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19), triggered by the rapid community spread of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has brought forward the need for speedy testing and manufacturing of respiratory face masks for global use. Overwhelmed by the fast-growing demand for disposable face masks, many governments have recommended the use of, and elaborated design criteria for, reusable face masks that are meant to slow down the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the general population. Using aerosol particle size spectrometers, we performed particle size distribution measurements and calculated the fractional aerosol particle size-selective filtration efficiencies of over 300 fabrics and fabric-assemblies, including chiffon, cotton, synthetics, and various promising layered combinations. We suggest, and experimentally verify, a simple way for estimating the aerosol filtration efficiency of layered fabrics. The analysis herein investigates the relationship between the breathability and filtration properties of fabrics, assemblies of fabrics, and commercial reusable masks from various regions around the globe. In addition, we demonstrate how a hydrophobic coating can provide a statistically significant increase in the fabrics’ filtration efficiency. The insights of this work are crucial to developing non-woven, high-filtration-performance, reusable face masks that can be worn for extended periods of time.

Keywords: Face mask, Fractional aerosol particle size-selective filtration, Pressure drop, Text mining, Hydrophobic coating

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