What Makes a Mask Breathable

What Makes a Mask Breathable

Masks are generally uncomfortable to wear. They cause divets in the skin, rub and move when the wearer speaks, get smelly, itchy, warm, and moist, and can be hard to breathe through. See my previous post, Are N99 and N100 Masks Even Better?, about which NIOSH mask ratings are the most difficult to breathe through. 

Any mask is going to have some level of breathing resistance, even when the wearer is still and unmoving. A well-fitting and breathable mask will be far less noticeable during use and may even be decently comfortable for light exercise and movement. The metric used to measure breathing resistance is a Delta P (ΔP). This unit measures pressure drop, defined as the difference between two measured pressure values. A high pressure drop equals a great deal of breathing resistance while a low pressure drop doesn't feel like any breathing resistance.

Airveil filters, because of their nanotechnological structure, are the most breathable of filters. Their pressure drop (breathing resistance) is nearly unnoticeable. The unique abilities of nanostructure are better explained in the previous blog post, How Nano-Fibers Work for Air Filtration. This technology allows for the Airveil filter to be as effective as an N95 or HEPA filter with only one layer of material. The typical N95 rated filter is layers of spun-bond polypropylene. Obviously, the more layers required to obtain a high standard of filtration, the less airflow will be able to get past to the wearer. Airveil filters are a single layer of material, making them extremely lightweight, breathable, and they can even be washed and reused!

Airveil is excited to continue working with new up and coming technologies in the world of materials science. 

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