Which Surgical 3-ply Mask Should You Use? All Spun Bond Layers Vs 2 Spun Bond & 1 Melt Blown Layer
Surgical Masks are mostly used by medical health professionals in hospitals, health care camps, labs and other medical facilities. However, in the context of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Surgical masks have seen a huge rise in demand for all the right reasons as even the common public are wearing them to ensure protection and prevention of the spread of infection or illness by the CoronaVirus.
Surgical masks (3-ply) are effective in blocking splashes, large-particle droplets and even particles as small as the size of 0.3 microns. They have a strong barrier which can have a Bacterial Filtration Efficiency (BFE) of >99.8%.
Surgical (3-ply) face masks are made using non-woven fabric owing to the material’s superior bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE) and air breathability. It is also less slippery than woven cloth such as a cotton mask. It is also cost-effective when compared to a Filtering Facepiece Respirator.
As the name suggests, these surgical 3-ply masks have three layers of non woven fabric. These non-woven fabrics can be made using two processes, namely, Spunbond or Melt Blown.
What is Spun Bond?
Spunbond non-woven fabrics are made by spinning continuous filament fibres into a moving belt from fibres like polypropylene, polystyrene, polycarbonate, polyethylene, or polyester. It is the shortest route that converts fibres into a fabric without involving various steps.
The process not only increases the number of pores but also enlarges the pore size thus improving the air permeability. This process also leads to molecular orientation and thus improves the tensile strength of the fabric. However, due to the large pores and coarser fibres, the bacterial filtration efficiency might be slightly compromised.
Characteristics of Spun bond fabric, when used in a Surgical 3-ply face mask, are:
1. High strength compared to other nonwoven, woven, and knitted structures
2. High Tensile Strength, i.e, it doesn’t tear off easily.
3. Gives the Mask a Shape
4. Crease resistance
5. Resistance to fluid penetration,
7. Smaller Pressure Drop which ensures that the mask traps unwanted particles, but the pressure drop through the mask is low enough so that breathing effort is normal.
Melt Blown Fabric
Melt blown fabrics are produced through the process of electrostatic charging. Melt blown fabric consists of smaller diameter filaments including submicron filament. Owing to the density of the microfibre structure of the melt-blown fabric, it acts as an exceptional filtration layer. The melt-blown fabric is what provides a surgical mask that provides maximum protection.
So, which mask should one use?
Both the fabrics lack properties when used individually, both together make a great pair.
A great Surgical (3-ply) face mask is one which has two layers of Spun bond fabric, the inner layer and the outer layer, while the middle layer is made using the melt-blown fabric.
The spun-bond fabric provides protection to the melt blow fabric while also making the mask stronger. The fabric also allows pleats to be formed which allows the user to expand the mask such that it covers the area from the nose to the chin
The Surgical Masks by HALO have the requisite three-layered filters with The first & third layer is the Non-Woven Spun Bond Fabric while the middle layer is the Non-Woven Melt Blown Fabric.
Surgical Masks are of utmost importance today. It is of utmost importance to ensure the safety of your life and of those around you. While using a Surgical mask, take necessary precautions to ensure complete protection. To know how to properly wear and remove a Surgical mask, click here.