Effectiveness of Common Fabrics to Block Aqueous Aerosols of Virus-like Nanoparticles.ACS Nano. 2020 06 23; 14(6):7651-7658.AN
Layered systems of commonly available fabric materials can be used by the public and healthcare providers in face masks to reduce the risk of inhaling viruses with protection that is about equivalent to or better than the filtration and adsorption offered by 5-layer N95 respirators. Over 70 different common fabric combinations and masks were evaluated under steady-state, forced convection air flux with pulsed aerosols that simulate forceful respiration. The aerosols contain fluorescent virus-like nanoparticles to track transmission through materials that greatly assist the accuracy of detection, thus avoiding artifacts including pore flooding and the loss of aerosol due to evaporation and droplet breakup. Effective materials comprise both absorbent, hydrophilic layers and barrier, hydrophobic layers. Although the hydrophobic layers can adhere virus-like nanoparticles, they may also repel droplets from adjacent absorbent layers and prevent wicking transport across the fabric system. Effective designs are noted with absorbent layers comprising terry cloth towel, quilting cotton, and flannel. Effective designs are noted with barrier layers comprising nonwoven polypropylene, polyester, and polyaramid.