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With a country-wide shortage of PPE in 2020, Italian Universities set up laboratories to test mask performance prior to releasing these masks into the national market. The seven universities listed in this study collected data on bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE) and differential pressure (DP) (which is related to breathability).
TSI’s model 5200-2 mass flow meter was used by Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia (in collaboration with Safe s.r.l.) to set, monitor, and control air flow in their testing. Our 5000 Series flow meters are ideal for research applications due to their high accuracy, ultra-low pressure drop, and data collection options.
The results of this study concluded that, of 120 total tested masks, 73 (60.8%) had BFE and DP parameters suitable for surgical masks. The other 47 (39.2%) could serve as community masks, which have no standard requirements/guidelines.
According to the study, “masks with the highest combined performance, among those tested, were invariably made of three layers” and are made using a combination of nonwoven spunbonded and meltblown polypropylene layers.
Read or download the original research study, “Testing Surgical Face Masks in an Emergency Context: The Experience of Italian Laboratories during the COVID-19 Pandemic Crisis”