N95 masks provides an airtight seal around the size and mouth which allows the wearer to perform critical operations. Typically, they are made four layers of material: the outer layer consists of spun-bond polypropylene, the second layer of cellulose/polyester, the third layer of melt-blown polypropylene and an inner layer of spun-bond polypropylene. The second layer is treated with copper and zinc ions to provide antibacterial function which is a testing criterion for these masks to pass. They should be produced based on NIOSH-42CFR84 standard.
Standards: We selected the NIOSH-42CFR84 standards for our design.
Fabric: We tested a number non-woven fabrics that have a resilient local supply chain. We found that Halyard H600 which is a combination of spunbond and melt-blown polypropylene have the right breathability and particle/droplet rejection capacity. We achieved this in a 2-ply format.
Usability: We consulted with an experienced physician in our community, who kindly volunteered to test a number of samples produced to comment on comfort and breathability.
Manufacturing: We partnered with local sportswear manufacturing company, Niko. Joe and the team at Niko have been extremely helpful in doing small batchs and frequent design changes.
This is what some of the earlier prototypes look like.
We have finished the pressure drop test for the mentioned design. We also are performing a qualitative and quantitative fit test in collaboration with Hamilton Health Science. The next step is to send the designed mask for particle and bacterial filtration efficiency.
Niko Apparel in Hamilton, ON will be starting the production once the design is finalized and the tests are passed.