27 January 2021

COVID-19 Mask Tester

Back

During the outbreak of the Corona virus, we were being offered to purchase surgical masks from Asia. In an investigation we learnt that 200 million were being made per day. For a mask to be a barrier to the Covid-19 strains they need to be certified to at least a KN95 standard. To make a mask to this standard we learnt that a mask should contain a “melt blown fabric”. To make this fabric, special machines with the correct nozzle size are required.

 It is highly unlikely – if not impossible - for there to be enough of these machines in circulation to make such a daily output of masks, so therefore the market is saturated with masks that do not conform to the standard but are sold as if they do. We therefore made a rough prototype that can test a mask and see if it is highly likely that it does contain a barrier fabric such as the melt blown fabric and therefore be effective barrier against catching the Corona virus.

We employed the use of three simple tests: passing light, air and water through the mask.

If the mask resisted the set values of these elements, then it is a “certified” mask. Once we had developed the product- the market had moved on. Health institutions such as the British NHS will obviously ensure that their supplies confirm to the standards when purchasing supplies, however the general market have been told to “wear face coverings” when in public. This document sets out the development we have done to date. We are keen to work with institutions and businesses that have an interest in preventive masks and share our learning. We are an industrial design engineering firm, specialising in the process of taking an innovative idea through to production. We wish to work alongside any organisation that could see our skill set and learning as a benefit in their fight against the spread of COVID-19.

To see our visualisation of the final product please click here to go to our portfolio

 

  

Set Up & Testing on rig: The first step is placing the mask within the clamping mechanism. In its current form the clamping mechanism requires the mask to be cut to size. Future developments would focus on clamping in-tact masks. The mask needs to be clamped so that no air can pass below the mask, this is vital in ensuring the accuracy of the airflow test. The mask needs to be placed within the funnel and then water added when prompted by the device. The device will then wait 60 seconds for water flow. Before the water test is completed it is useful to wipe the water sensor down, this will increase the accuracy.

    

Specifying the tests:

 

Light Test

The Light tests allows 30% deviation. The device starts by completing a light test. The aim of this test is to read how much light the masks are diffusing. Melt-blown fabric will have different light diffusion properties when compared to other filtering fabrics. The device takes a reading of ambient light, then pulses the ultra-bright LED and takes a reading. The resultant light flow can then be measured. This is done five times and then averaged out.

Airflow tests

The Airflow test allows 30% deviation. This is the main test. Melt-blown fabric has a significant impact on the airflow through the mask. Firstly, an ambient pressure reading is taken, then the vacuum pump is powered up and another pressure reading is taken. Depending on the airflow through the mask, the negative pressure the pump can sustain will change. The two readings are subtracted, this is done 5 times to average out.

Water flow tests

 Zero water flow allowed. Melt-blown fabric does not allow water flow. Firstly, the sensor is calibrated for current water levels (in case there is water left over from previous tests), then device waits 60 seconds for any water droplets. Device will indicate if a water droplet is sensed.

Review: Overall, the device performs well, the device takes around 2 minutes to test each mask. Each test is very accurate and can easily differentiate between masks that contain melt blown fabric and masks that have their melt blow fabric removed. The device can also differentiate between other filter materials like coffee filters, tissue paper and cotton. Currently it is unknown how fake masks differ compared to legitimate masks. Until we get this information, we are unable to calibrate and test the effectiveness of the device. The device is currently using the Arduino interface to notify the user of the results of the test. Ideally this would be done with a LED traffic light system, eliminating the need for a computer to be used. Once the tests have been calibrated and finalized this is a straightforward modification.

Designing the product: Following the prototype we developed the design into a product that we thought would meet the user’s requirements whilst fitting in with a medical style of product, where the product must have the users trust. The following slides illustrate our developed ideas.

Can we help?

 

The working rig and proposed execution of the mask tester detailed in this report is a relatively quick body of work to illustrate our desire to be involved with the fight against viral pandemics by working alongside scientists and medics and deliver solutions to market, quickly and inexpensively as possible. We welcome enquires from anyone who believes we can be an asset to their project.

Back

27 January 2021

COVID-19 Mask Tester

Back

During the outbreak of the Corona virus, we were being offered to purchase surgical masks from Asia. In an investigation we learnt that 200 million were being made per day. For a mask to be a barrier to the Covid-19 strains they need to be certified to at least a KN95 standard. To make a mask to this standard we learnt that a mask should contain a “melt blown fabric”. To make this fabric, special machines with the correct nozzle size are required.

 It is highly unlikely – if not impossible - for there to be enough of these machines in circulation to make such a daily output of masks, so therefore the market is saturated with masks that do not conform to the standard but are sold as if they do. We therefore made a rough prototype that can test a mask and see if it is highly likely that it does contain a barrier fabric such as the melt blown fabric and therefore be effective barrier against catching the Corona virus.

We employed the use of three simple tests: passing light, air and water through the mask.

If the mask resisted the set values of these elements, then it is a “certified” mask. Once we had developed the product- the market had moved on. Health institutions such as the British NHS will obviously ensure that their supplies confirm to the standards when purchasing supplies, however the general market have been told to “wear face coverings” when in public. This document sets out the development we have done to date. We are keen to work with institutions and businesses that have an interest in preventive masks and share our learning. We are an industrial design engineering firm, specialising in the process of taking an innovative idea through to production. We wish to work alongside any organisation that could see our skill set and learning as a benefit in their fight against the spread of COVID-19.

To see our visualisation of the final product please click here to go to our portfolio

 

  

Set Up & Testing on rig: The first step is placing the mask within the clamping mechanism. In its current form the clamping mechanism requires the mask to be cut to size. Future developments would focus on clamping in-tact masks. The mask needs to be clamped so that no air can pass below the mask, this is vital in ensuring the accuracy of the airflow test. The mask needs to be placed within the funnel and then water added when prompted by the device. The device will then wait 60 seconds for water flow. Before the water test is completed it is useful to wipe the water sensor down, this will increase the accuracy.

    

Specifying the tests:

 

Light Test

The Light tests allows 30% deviation. The device starts by completing a light test. The aim of this test is to read how much light the masks are diffusing. Melt-blown fabric will have different light diffusion properties when compared to other filtering fabrics. The device takes a reading of ambient light, then pulses the ultra-bright LED and takes a reading. The resultant light flow can then be measured. This is done five times and then averaged out.

Airflow tests

The Airflow test allows 30% deviation. This is the main test. Melt-blown fabric has a significant impact on the airflow through the mask. Firstly, an ambient pressure reading is taken, then the vacuum pump is powered up and another pressure reading is taken. Depending on the airflow through the mask, the negative pressure the pump can sustain will change. The two readings are subtracted, this is done 5 times to average out.

Water flow tests

 Zero water flow allowed. Melt-blown fabric does not allow water flow. Firstly, the sensor is calibrated for current water levels (in case there is water left over from previous tests), then device waits 60 seconds for any water droplets. Device will indicate if a water droplet is sensed.

Review: Overall, the device performs well, the device takes around 2 minutes to test each mask. Each test is very accurate and can easily differentiate between masks that contain melt blown fabric and masks that have their melt blow fabric removed. The device can also differentiate between other filter materials like coffee filters, tissue paper and cotton. Currently it is unknown how fake masks differ compared to legitimate masks. Until we get this information, we are unable to calibrate and test the effectiveness of the device. The device is currently using the Arduino interface to notify the user of the results of the test. Ideally this would be done with a LED traffic light system, eliminating the need for a computer to be used. Once the tests have been calibrated and finalized this is a straightforward modification.

Designing the product: Following the prototype we developed the design into a product that we thought would meet the user’s requirements whilst fitting in with a medical style of product, where the product must have the users trust. The following slides illustrate our developed ideas.

Can we help?

 

The working rig and proposed execution of the mask tester detailed in this report is a relatively quick body of work to illustrate our desire to be involved with the fight against viral pandemics by working alongside scientists and medics and deliver solutions to market, quickly and inexpensively as possible. We welcome enquires from anyone who believes we can be an asset to their project.

27 January 2021

COVID-19 Mask Tester

Back

During the outbreak of the Corona virus, we were being offered to purchase surgical masks from Asia. In an investigation we learnt that 200 million were being made per day. For a mask to be a barrier to the Covid-19 strains they need to be certified to at least a KN95 standard. To make a mask to this standard we learnt that a mask should contain a “melt blown fabric”. To make this fabric, special machines with the correct nozzle size are required.

 It is highly unlikely – if not impossible - for there to be enough of these machines in circulation to make such a daily output of masks, so therefore the market is saturated with masks that do not conform to the standard but are sold as if they do. We therefore made a rough prototype that can test a mask and see if it is highly likely that it does contain a barrier fabric such as the melt blown fabric and therefore be effective barrier against catching the Corona virus.

We employed the use of three simple tests: passing light, air and water through the mask.

If the mask resisted the set values of these elements, then it is a “certified” mask. Once we had developed the product- the market had moved on. Health institutions such as the British NHS will obviously ensure that their supplies confirm to the standards when purchasing supplies, however the general market have been told to “wear face coverings” when in public. This document sets out the development we have done to date. We are keen to work with institutions and businesses that have an interest in preventive masks and share our learning. We are an industrial design engineering firm, specialising in the process of taking an innovative idea through to production. We wish to work alongside any organisation that could see our skill set and learning as a benefit in their fight against the spread of COVID-19.

To see our visualisation of the final product please click here to go to our portfolio

 

  

Set Up & Testing on rig: The first step is placing the mask within the clamping mechanism. In its current form the clamping mechanism requires the mask to be cut to size. Future developments would focus on clamping in-tact masks. The mask needs to be clamped so that no air can pass below the mask, this is vital in ensuring the accuracy of the airflow test. The mask needs to be placed within the funnel and then water added when prompted by the device. The device will then wait 60 seconds for water flow. Before the water test is completed it is useful to wipe the water sensor down, this will increase the accuracy.

    

Specifying the tests:

 

Light Test

The Light tests allows 30% deviation. The device starts by completing a light test. The aim of this test is to read how much light the masks are diffusing. Melt-blown fabric will have different light diffusion properties when compared to other filtering fabrics. The device takes a reading of ambient light, then pulses the ultra-bright LED and takes a reading. The resultant light flow can then be measured. This is done five times and then averaged out.

Airflow tests

The Airflow test allows 30% deviation. This is the main test. Melt-blown fabric has a significant impact on the airflow through the mask. Firstly, an ambient pressure reading is taken, then the vacuum pump is powered up and another pressure reading is taken. Depending on the airflow through the mask, the negative pressure the pump can sustain will change. The two readings are subtracted, this is done 5 times to average out.

Water flow tests

 Zero water flow allowed. Melt-blown fabric does not allow water flow. Firstly, the sensor is calibrated for current water levels (in case there is water left over from previous tests), then device waits 60 seconds for any water droplets. Device will indicate if a water droplet is sensed.

Review: Overall, the device performs well, the device takes around 2 minutes to test each mask. Each test is very accurate and can easily differentiate between masks that contain melt blown fabric and masks that have their melt blow fabric removed. The device can also differentiate between other filter materials like coffee filters, tissue paper and cotton. Currently it is unknown how fake masks differ compared to legitimate masks. Until we get this information, we are unable to calibrate and test the effectiveness of the device. The device is currently using the Arduino interface to notify the user of the results of the test. Ideally this would be done with a LED traffic light system, eliminating the need for a computer to be used. Once the tests have been calibrated and finalized this is a straightforward modification.

Designing the product: Following the prototype we developed the design into a product that we thought would meet the user’s requirements whilst fitting in with a medical style of product, where the product must have the users trust. The following slides illustrate our developed ideas.

Can we help?

 

The working rig and proposed execution of the mask tester detailed in this report is a relatively quick body of work to illustrate our desire to be involved with the fight against viral pandemics by working alongside scientists and medics and deliver solutions to market, quickly and inexpensively as possible. We welcome enquires from anyone who believes we can be an asset to their project.