The untold origin story of the N95 mask - Deepstash

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The untold origin story of the N95 mask

fastcompany.com

The mask - a flimsy polymer cup - fits tightly around the face and is capable of filtering 95% of airborne particles, such as viruses, from the air.

The firsts masks were cloth placed around the mouths and noses of people and were not meant to be against con...

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Surgical masks

Doctors started wearing the first surgical masks in 1897. The masks were not designed to prevent airborne disease - that is still not the case today - but to prevent doctors from coughing or sneezing droplets onto wounds during surgery.

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The first modern respirator

During 1920, a plague broke out between a shared jurisdiction of China and Russia. The Chinese Imperial Court brought in a young doctor named Lien-teh Wu that determined that the plague was not spread by fleas but through the air. He expanded upon the surgery masks he'd seen in the West,...

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  • At first, the masks wrapped around your entire head to clean the air supply.
  • Similar masks, loaded with fiberglass filter, began to be used in the mining industry to prevent black lung. It could be washed and reused.
  • Although it saved lives, it was burdensome, and the dan...

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How the N95 respirator works

Instead of fiberglass, single-use respirators are made from melted polymer and air-blasted into layers of tiny fibers with bigger spaces between them.

As particles fly into this maze of fibers, they get stuck. An electrostatic charge is added to the material, so even smaller particles are...

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