Texas A&M University Team Designs N95 Mask Alternative
A team consisting of Texas A&M University faculty and graduate students in the Biomedical Engineering department have researched various DIY masks and have developed one they believe is highly effective and takes 10 minutes to assemble using 4 layers of a MERV 13 home air-conditioning filter, staples, wire, and 2 layers of polyester sheer fabric. All materials can be purchased for a total of about $5 per mask (when making 10) at a nearby home improvement or and/or discount store.
For those who are aren’t familiar with Texas A&M it is the sixth largest university in the United States, the largest university in Texas, and a tier 1 research institution.
The team’s goal was to design a mask with “N95-like performance” in both filtering and ability to fit. The video posted on youtube spends some time explaining the deficiencies of other DIY masks, then provides detailed hands-on instructions:
Mask Instruction Video
Instructions for Covid-19 Mask Construction
The team provides written PDF instructions also.
The following materials are used to make the masks at about $5 a piece when making 10:
As per the team’s writeup:
The prototype mask was put through in-house qualitative fit testing, which was incorporated into the iterative mask development process. Over thirty prototype designs were created and vetted.. A quantitative fit test was performed with the same parameters as commercial N95 masks for use in a Biosafety-Level-3 laboratory environment. The prototype DIY mask outperformed other commonly available DIY mask designs made using the available information, including several 3D printed varieties, but it did not meet OSHA fit-testing standards required for approved N95 masks.
In summary, a low-cost, easily assembled N95-like mask was produced using materials easily found in most home-supply or hardware stores. The total estimated cost of the prototype mask is less than $5/mask, and it could be assembled in approximately 10 minutes /mask. Its materials are rated to achieve 95% filtering efficiency for 0.3 micron particles which commonly carry viral pathogens. In its current state, it is believed that this prototype may present a viable stopgap measure when rated N95 masks are unavailable, and it is strongly believed to outperform most other DIY masks currently available in light of PE shortages in the healthcare space.”
Packaging and Decontaminating
At the end of its report, the team also provides a method to package and sterilize the masks prior to distributing them by warming them in a 200 F degree.
Disclaimer – Not Certified!
The team provides various disclaimers that the masks are NOT rated and NOT sterile and are of course used one’s own risk.