While many people are encouraged, and in many cases required, to wear face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, there are some common complaints: the mask doesn’t fit correctly; it’s uncomfortable; it’s too hot; or it’s hard to breathe through.
A CFAES material scientist is working to change that.
Judit Puskas is developing a new polymer face mask she expects will be more effective against COVID-19. Puskas, a CFAES Distinguished Professor in polymer science at the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, has a provisional patent application pending for the mask.
She’s working with the Mayo Clinic to create and test the mask to meet the same safety and efficacy standards of an N95 mask, but with more comfort and usability for the wearers.
Puskas’ mask is made of a nonwoven fabric composed of biocompatible rubber composite formed into a fiber mat that can be used to create personal protective equipment, including face masks.
The goal is to offer alternatives to N95 masks that can be used by workers in various conditions.
Her mask is made of a flexible, breathable rubber that’s water-repellant, doesn’t allow sneeze particles through, and won’t let moisture build up on the mask from breathing. It can also be used in hot, humid conditions as well as in a freezer; can be easily sterilized in water-based solutions; and is recyclable for multiple reuses.