Engineers Stress-Testing Disinfected N95 Masks for Reuse
The N95 respirator mask is often the first line of defense against COVID-19 for many medical professionals. University of Michigan engineers have been working to address the current shortage by developing scalable, efficient ways to disinfect the masks, which are typically thrown out after one use. They're also testing if the masks still work and fit after repeated rounds of treatment, and stress testing the masks in what is essentially a small wind tunnel. One team is assessing the methods that best inactivate virus particles on N95 masks, and a second team is figuring out how many times masks can be treated by those methods and still retain their protective capabilities. Initial testing provides evidence that a combination of ultraviolet light and humid heat may work in disinfecting.