Although companies around the world have revamped production lines and devoted effort and investment into producing face masks, the chasm between supply and demand continues to gape.
Healthcare workers, who rely on PPE to keep safe at work are in some cases having to reuse such basic equipment as face masks again and again, which means they must continue to function for longer periods than foreseen.
PolyOne has therefore launched a new functional additive for protective face masks. Currently, the new additive is commercially available globally.
Called MagIQ Non-Woven Electret Plus, the product is part of the specialty polymers company’s Fiber Solutions portfolio. It improves the dielectric properties in face masks, extending filtration efficiency and the length of time masks will hold a charge.
N95 and surgical masks both rely on multi-layer construction, with a middle layer made from melt-blown non-woven material. This layer filters out aerosols and particulates containing bacteria and viruses to protect the wearer and those around them.
To give better particle blocking capabilities to this layer, fibres can be modified with an additive during extrusion before undergoing an electret charging process. The charged fibres are more effective in keeping particles out. The additive helps the middle layer of protective masks to effectively trap particles as small as 0.3 microns, said Say Eng Lee, VP and GM Color at PolyOne, in the statement announcing the product.