With the world facing a pandemic situation, face masks have become a mandatory accessory. It all started with wearing face masks to protect yourself, but now there is more to it.
Different types of masks started appearing on the market. Some were specifically for use by medical professionals, like the N95. But using this for a long time is not so easy. Also, the huge demand for these masks has made supply scarce. A lookout for alternative fabrics has yielded good results.
Research has found that sustainable silk mask can be used as a replacement for conventional masks.
Researchers wanted to retain the safety of N95 masks and also develop something that can be worn on top of the used masks. For this purpose, a comparison between cotton, polyester, and silk was made to arrive at a decision.
Silk has the highest hydrophobicity compared to the other fabrics. It can exhibit high droplet repulsion property which is much needed as the virus spreads through droplet infection.
Silk is made of natural fibers and is hypoallergenic. It is cooling and does not leave the skin dry.
Silk fibers are made of long continuous strands woven by the silkworms and are considered to be of high strength. At the same time, it is easily pliable.
Also due to the insulation property, it gives protection from climate changes.
The silk fibers are naturally anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-microbial. This makes it an excellent choice for use in the medical arena.
Also, silk threads have been used for surgical suturing for a long time now due to their feature of not being absorbed by the body.
There are masks and PPE material made of other fabrics but that requires an infusion of copper particles during the manufacturing. But it is surprising to note that silk naturally is copper-rich and this provides it the health benefits.
Silk masks are also breathable and non-irritating. During long hours at the hospital, it is essential that the mask you wear is not taxing and silk masks can come to your rescue.
Research has also been done with Aerosolization as a method to test the penetration of droplets in silk masks, this indicated that the use of multiple layers in masks made of silk has better repulsion property.
And to conclude, as with any reusable mask, silk sleep masks should also be washed after each use. This is for your safety as also for the public.