Since February of 2020, we’ve been asking for standards for masks/face coverings used by our communities. Finally, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has established a national standard (ASTM F3502) for “Barrier Face Coverings” that are neither medical masks according to ASTM F2100 standards nor respirators according to NIOSH standards. This new standard […]
Mask Math/Science Vignette: Mask Straps According to the guidance released by the WHO in December mask straps should be designed to withstand at least 10 lbs of force ( 44.5 Newtons). The materials that most straps are constructed from (e.g., cotton straps and silicone bands) easily meet these requirements. However, we’ve seen a number of […]
How Do I Choose Fabrics for Masks for COVID-19? Since March, it seems like there has been a constant barrage of conflicting information about which fabrics are the best for masks for COVID-19. We’ve put together this crash course on mask fabrics to provide some of the fundamental concepts in fabrics and how they are relevant for our collective mask making efforts.
In an ideal world, the safety and efficacy of all of the fabrics and materials used in handmade masks for COVID-19 would be tested using the same standards and facilities used by researchers and large manufacturers. Unfortunately, very few people have access to these resources. In this post we provide instructions for three easy DIY […]
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are global shortages of N95 respirators resulting in large scale adoption of procedures and policies for the extended use and re-use of N95 respirators. In this post we do a deeper dive into the quantitative breathability data for the MakerMask: Cover, a breathable N95 mask cover. The […]
Almost everything comes with a label, from food to clothing to medicine to medical devices, and according to the FDA, face masks and cloth face coverings should come with labels too. More specifically, the Emergency Use Authorization for Face Masks released by the FDA April 24, 2020, includes labeling requirements for masks that are being […]
This deep dive post looks into the “Big Four” criteria evaluated in preliminary assessments of community mask materials: material characteristics, breathability, water-repellence, and disinfection options. More specifically, we focus on nonwoven polypropylene (NWPP), which is commonly used in commercial face masks. Although ideal medical grade NWPP is not currently available for community use, NWPP is commonly available at different weights and grades for other household and/or commercial purposes, such as reusable grocery bags. Here we take a more in-depth look at the 4 preliminary criteria considered when evaluating potential sources of NWPP.
The MakerMask project team has reviewed extensive literature on the science and manufacturing of NIOSH-approved respirators. We selected a multi-layered design that balanced increased filtration capabilities with permeability for breathing. The spunbond non-woven polypropylene (NWPP) outer layers use the same type of material used in medical-grade commercial masks, providing water-resistance for blocking droplet transmission and mechanical filtration from the structure of the fibers.