Heikki Junninen1, Nieves Maria Flores March1, Marko Vana1, Kalju Tamme1, Helina Lipp1, Sander Mirme1, Siim Pikker1, Tareq Hussein This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.2,3, Markku Kulmala3 

1 Laboratory of Environmental Physics, Institute of Physics, University of Tartu, Tartu, 50411, Estonia
2 Environmental and Atmospheric Research Laboratory (EARL), School of Science, the University of Jordan, Amman, 11942, Jordan
3 Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR), Faculty of Science, University of Helsinki, PL 64, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland


Received: January 19, 2024
Revised: May 17, 2024
Accepted: May 21, 2024

 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.240021  

  • Download: PDF


Cite this article:

Junninen, H., March, N.M.F., Vana, M., Tamme, K., Lipp, H., Mirme, S., Pikker, S., Hussein, T., Kulmala, M. (2024). Particle Filtration Efficiency, Breathability, and Reusability of Common Masks. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 24, 240021. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.240021


HIGHLIGHTS

  • Filtration and breathability are important characteristics for masks.
  • Hot water washing or boiling disinfects a mask efficiently.
  • N95 respirators are perfect masks but they had relatively low breathability.
  • Disposable masks/respirators can be washed and re-used several times.
 

ABSTRACT


The Filtration efficiency (FE) and breathability were evaluated for commonly used masks (total of 350 of commercial and home-made) before and after disinfection by one of three options: washing machine (60°C, 90 minutes), boiling in water (5 minutes), or holding in hot water (decreasing temperature from 90°C to 80°C, 5 minutes). The overall average breathability was 97 Pa cm2 with disposable masks had pressure difference better than community mask requirements. According to our results, the FE of 0.3 µm (FE0.3µm) > 80% for 136 masks and that for 3 µm (FE3µm) > 80% for 194 masks. In general, disposable masks had better FE (FE0.3µm = 89% and FE3µm = 96%) than multiple-usable masks (FE0.3µm = 39% and FE3µm = 66%). The commercial masks (FE0.3µm = 55% and FE3µm = 75%) had higher performance than self-made masks (FE0.3µm = 21% and FE3µm = 54%). An additional layer in a commercial mask enhanced FE0.3µm from 35% to 84% and FE3µm from 69% to 94%. The FE (likely remained more than 50%) was not affected significantly after cleaning a mask and the breathability was not changed. It is concluded here that disposable masks and respirators can be washed and used several times without losing much quality of the masks regarding the FE and breathability. The best masks for FE were N95 respirators, but they had relatively low breathability. When also counting the breathability, the equally good performance was for commercial multiple-usable masks with filtering layer and disposable masks.


Keywords: Fine particles, Particle filtration, Breathability, Disinfection, Mask




Share this article with your colleagues 

 

Subscribe to our Newsletter 

Aerosol and Air Quality Research has published over 2,000 peer-reviewed articles. Enter your email address to receive latest updates and research articles to your inbox every second week.

7.3
2022CiteScore
 
 
77st percentile
Powered by
Scopus
 
   SCImago Journal & Country Rank

2022 Impact Factor: 4.0
5-Year Impact Factor: 3.4

Aerosol and Air Quality Research partners with Publons

CLOCKSS system has permission to ingest, preserve, and serve this Archival Unit
CLOCKSS system has permission to ingest, preserve, and serve this Archival Unit

Aerosol and Air Quality Research (AAQR) is an independently-run non-profit journal that promotes submissions of high-quality research and strives to be one of the leading aerosol and air quality open-access journals in the world. We use cookies on this website to personalize content to improve your user experience and analyze our traffic. By using this site you agree to its use of cookies.