US researchers have developed new designs for N95 face masks they say will extend the shelf life of the respiratory protection devices – one of the key pieces of personal protective equipment being used by health care workers during COVID-19.
The Purdue University team’s design tweaks, which focus on the elastic band that attaches to the front of the mask, should also improve the individual fit of each mask.
“The shelf life for an N95 mask is primarily affected by the elastic band holding the mask together, since the elastic disintegrates after a certain period of time.”
Researcher and graduate student at Purdue, Hersh Rai, said the shelf life for an N-95 mask was “primarily affected by the elastic band holding the mask together since the elastic disintegrates after a certain period of time.”
“We designed a way to create the masks using the same filter material on the front, but with different materials for the band and with novel attachment locations and methods.”
The team created several design options that work with elastic or different materials that can be attached to the front of the mask in different ways to allow the band materials to be swapped out so the mask can last longer.
The designs provide more attachment points for the band materials, which allow for a more secure fit without contaminating the front material.
Recently, a coalition of workplace health and safety-related organisations across Australia and New Zealand called for the urgent establishment of a register for approved face masks.
The group described the presence of non-compliant, fake and faulty disposable masks as an immediate threat to the health and safety of workers.
The Purdue University team is currently looking for partners to continue developing their technology.
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This article first published at myosh