About the Research
Researcher Taher Saif leads a study to determine how effective homemade masks are in preventing virus spread. Saif is a mechanical science and engineering professor at the University of Illinois.
For this experiment, the researcher examined 11 common household fabrics. Furthermore, these fabrics were set against the medical mask that is widely used as a preventive measure during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saif considers the size of air droplets and the speed at which they move before experimenting. Not only that, but he also uses an adapted inhaler and water to recreate sneezing and the dispersion of air droplets. Lastly, the experiment took into account the fabric density and potential breathing difficulties when worn. The last factor is important because it influences how many people will use the mask.
Before the experiment, there were indications that many people refuse certain masks. The reason this is so is that they can be uncomfortable to wear and it is hard to breathe in them. Therefore, finding materials that satisfy all the criteria is an important factor for public health safety.
The study shows that most household fabrics are equally effective, among themselves, in preventing the spread of respiratory droplets. Furthermore, if the mask has two or three layers it is similarly effective to a medical mask. The effectiveness was clear even on less dense materials like T-shirt fabric.
Saif’s researcher indicates that homemade masks are a viable tool for preventing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, when they are used with frequent hand washing and social distancing measures, they have the most effect.
- Researcher Taher Saif experiments to determine if homemade masks are effective at preventing air droplet spread.
- His experiment shows that 11 household materials are similar in their ability to stop the spread of air droplets.