The Efficacy of Popular Masks

John Kruszewski, Vincenzo Ferrari, and Dr. Daniela Topasna, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Virginia Military Institute, 319 Letcher Ave., Lexington VA 24450

With the global pandemic of COVID-19 came a myriad of new rules, regulations, and practices designed to mitigate the spread of the virus. One of the most widespread and life altering changes is the wearing of masks. Little research has been done to show how effective certain masks are in mitigating the spread of the virus. Our experiment, a replication of the Florida Atlantic University experiment, qualitatively shows the efficacy of various masks commonly worn on the Virginia Military Institute campus. There were two primary approaches to this experiment. The first approach was a qualitative analysis of air flow patterns created when simulating coughing in a mask. VMI cloth gray masks as well as the n95, a blue surgical mask, and a face sleeve were run through a series of simulated coughs and the results were recorded and analyzed using Tracker video analysis. The second method was an observational analysis of the individual masks. This entailed a microscopic examination of each mask using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). The n95 mask showed to be the most effective at reducing the horizontal spread of aerosols showing no visible horizontal aerosol travel. The commonly worn blue surgical mask was the least effective at preventing the horizontal spread of aerosols.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenters: Vincenzo Ferrari, John Kruszewski

Institution: Virginia Military Institute

Type: Poster

Subject: Physics/Astronomy

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 9
Date/Time: Wed 12:00pm-1:00pm
Session Number: 6156