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Can Masks Be Reused After Hot Water Decontamination During the COVID-19 Pandemic?
Engineering ( IF 6.495 ) Pub Date : 2020-06-27 , DOI: 10.1016/j.eng.2020.05.016
Dan Wang; Bao-Chang Sun; Jie-Xin Wang; Yun-Yun Zhou; Zhuo-Wei Chen; Yan Fang; Wei-Hua Yue; Si-Min Liu; Ke-Yang Liu; Xiao-Fei Zeng; Guang-Wen Chu; Jian-Feng Chen

Masks have become one of the most indispensable pieces of personal protective equipment and are important strategic products during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Due to the huge mask demand–supply gap all over the world, the development of user-friendly technologies and methods is urgently needed to effectively extend the service time of masks. In this article, we report a very simple approach for the decontamination of masks for multiple reuse during the COVID-19 pandemic. Used masks were soaked in hot water at a temperature greater than 56 °C for 30 min, based on a recommended method to kill COVID-19 virus by the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China. The masks were then dried using an ordinary household hair dryer to recharge the masks with electrostatic charge to recover their filtration function (the so-called “hot water decontamination + charge regeneration” method). Three kinds of typical masks (disposable medical masks, surgical masks, and KN95-grade masks) were treated and tested. The filtration efficiencies of the regenerated masks were almost maintained and met the requirements of the respective standards. These findings should have important implications for the reuse of polypropylene masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. The performance evolution of masks during human wear was further studied, and a company (Zhejiang Runtu Co., Ltd.) applied this method to enable their workers to extend the use of masks. Mask use at the company was reduced from one mask per day per person to one mask every three days per person, and 122 500 masks were saved during the period from 20 February to 30 March 2020. Furthermore, a new method for detection of faulty masks based on the penetrant inspection of fluorescent nanoparticles was established, which may provide scientific guidance and technical methods for the future development of reusable masks, structural optimization, and the formulation of comprehensive performance evaluation standards.
更新日期:2020-06-27

 

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