AUSTIN (KXAN) – Researchers at Duke University have developed a new tool to find the effectiveness of the masks people are using to protect themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic.
And some offer less protection than others, the researchers found.
RESEARCH: Measuring the effectiveness of a mask at a low cost to filter out ejected droplets while speaking
So which mask is best – and worst – protects you?
The Duke researchers said that, naturally, the most effective mask is N95. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains that N95 is not only a mask but also a respirator that filters out at least 95% of airborne particles. The N95 also fits more securely than conventional respirators, allowing for minimal leakage.
Other masks that did well in our testing were three-ply surgical masks and cotton masks – which can be made at home.
Researchers say that the worst performers are folding tape and knitted mask.
Amazingly, in some cases, certain types of masks made exposure to the particles even worse, according to research.
The authors of the study say that neck piece, also known as the gaither mask, is least effective.
Martin Fischer, one of the authors of the study told CNN: “We were surprised to find that the number of particles measured in wool actually exceeded the number of particles measured without wearing any face. any mask. “We want to emphasize that we really encourage people to wear masks, but we want them to wear masks that really work.”
The neck pieces have been shown to break larger droplets into smaller particles that can more easily slide through and out.
Here are the types of masks that the Duke study tested.
The test setup is relatively simple: someone wearing a mask will speak in the direction of the laser beam inside the dark box. Then, the amount of the scattered droplets in the laser beam is captured with a mobile phone camera – pictured below.
That data is then computed using an algorithm.
See also Duke University mask diagram and findings for the mask experiment.