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Face mask made of cloth can be more effective

The most efficient accessory that has been recommended by doctors nowadays is a face mask. Combined with hand-washing and social distancing, face masks can successfully slow down the spread of the virus. However, many regions have been facing a critical shortage of N95 masks and surgical masks. The masks are generally reserved for healthcare workers. Generally, people have started resorting to cloth masks as they are easily available, affordable, and can be reused and washed.


Related: Which one is a better homemade mask?


Cloth masks are a cheaper alternative and are easier to make at home.  A team at Northeastern University conducted research where they were able to find several materials that were able to the particles of the virus. Made out of a combination of various materials, the mask would be very effective. It might be more effective than an N95 mask. The fabric and the fibres of the mask is an important aspect of it.


The researchers suggested that, while making a mask at home, one layer with hydrophobic properties must be combined. Steve Lustig, an associate professor at the university, collaborated with Ming Su, a professor of Chemical Engineering to conduct this research. Su’s team created fluorescent nanoparticles in order to keep a count of the particles that pass through the cloth materials. These nanoparticles were even smaller than the ones of the infection. The absorbent layers of the face mask were successful in preventing the particles from causing any harm.


The team also tested materials coated with Scotchguard and it also proved to be very efficient if it is to be used as a water repellent spray. The research has been followed by the U.S. Army as well as the U.S. Agricultural Department. According to Lustig, their research came handy to the army in order to come to a scientific conclusion.


Subarna Basu