What a bloody year? The emergence and fast spread of the Coronavirus have left everyone rushing to acquire a mask. Therefore, there is a shortage of face masks in the United States. Unfortunately, not all these masks can protect you from the virus. Only a few types of these air filtering respirators are effective. Today we will focus on KN95. But, what makes these KN95 respirators exceptional? Do you know how KN95 masks are made?
Well, KN95 air filtering respirator is capable of stopping contaminants, tiny particles, and microorganisms from entering your mouth and nose. They are the Chinese standard for air filtering respirators. During this pandemic, America has run out of their usual standard N95 air filtering respirators. Therefore, they are importing millions of KN95 masks from China to satisfy the demand.
What Makes KN95 exceptional?
Well, many people are more interested in the capacity of particles the mask can trap. Therefore, KN95 stands out as one of the best air-filtering devices when dealing with tiny particles. They are highly advanced to trap 95% of small particles. To be exact, 0.3-micron particles.
The fabrics used to make these masks are soft and skin-friendly. Also, its structure includes a nose clip that makes it convenient while using. This mask fits any face perfectly. Again, it has 5- layers of breathable fabrics to allow multiple filtering and continuous protection.
How KN95 traps particles
KN95 protects you by trapping the particles. It has layers that distort the movement of particles through the respirator. The mask has electrostatic energy that pulls the bits towards the mask materials; hence they build up in between the layers.
Therefore, most medical air filtering respirators should always be disposed of after every use.
The Five Layers of KN95 Mask Structure
The mask is made of 5 protective layers;
- The outer layer- is a nonwoven water blocking layer. Also, the coating is durable than the others.
- The second layer- this is the PP Cotton for natural particle blockage and filtration.
- The melt-blown fabric layer- isolation of bacteria and viruses happens here.
- The PTFE fabric layer- the heat sealing fabric is highly heat-resistance, hence a high level of filtration. It also filters out fine dust. Again, this layer is charged electrostatically to trap particles.
- The inner layer- this part made of non –woven fabric absorbs moisture from the mouth and nose hence leaving the area dry.
KN95 Mask Making Process
Some face-mask companies use plastics as the raw material while others use the already processed fabrics. So, the ones that use the plastics must start by melting it into cotton-like strands then into a sheet of melt-blown materials. Some create spun bond fabrics also to be used in making other face and medical masks.
This process of turning plastics into fabrics is quite hard. Therefore, most face mask making companies prefer purchasing the cloth to ease the process. Also, these companies use automated machines; hence the process looks easy. Now we are about to know how KN95 masks are made.
Here, all the machines are auto-linked together for auto production. A material insulation supplier starts the process. First, all the fabric materials are fed to this machine. It supplies the material to other parts of the system, such as line-feeding, cutting machines, and scanners.
Thin layers of the five fabrics from large spools are fed into the supplier. Then, the machine joins the five films into one. The ear straps are auto fixed. Next, the front side on the mask is then compressed and nose line inserted.
Then the machines cut and spit out the face masks faster than you expect. A team of workers checks for any faulty and then sterilize the respirator before packing them. Yes, the whole process is automated.
How to test for counterfeit KN95 at home
There are two simple ways you can know if your KN95 mask is of low quality:
1. Flame test
You should wear your mask. Then, activate the lighter six inches in front of your mouth. Try to put out the light by blowing it. If the light blows off, then the mask is of low quality. KN95 respirators should be firm but breathable.
2. Water test
Hold your respirator by the ear straps and fill in the water. For a high-quality KN95 mask, there should be no leakage. These masks are biological respirators, and therefore, they should be waterproof to avoid passage of any bodily fluids.
The difference between N95 and KN95
Well, the names look alike. You might find it confusing in differentiating the two brands. But, N95 is the United States accepted standard of masks while KN95 is the Chinese accepted standard.
Contrary, their features are almost alike except for a few, such as inhalation and exhalation resistance. According to the hardy chart, the N95 mask has an inhalation and exhalation resistance of 343 Pa and 245 Pa, respectively. On the other hand, KN95 has an inhalation and exhalation resistance of 350 Pa and 250 Pa.
But, both masks can trap 95 % tiny particles. That is precisely 0.3-micron particles.
Benefits of high-quality KN95 mask
The following are some of the pluses of using KN95 respirator;
- Reduced skin irritation- the materials used to make it are all skin-friendly.
- Highly protective- it filters 95 % of airborne particles.
- The lightweight, adjustable nose bridge and design make it comfortable.
- Easy to fold hence convenient to carry around.
- It has activated carbon filters out of lousy odor and harmful gases.
The Exit Line
Given the current status of this pandemic, we must protect ourselves as best as we can. Therefore, understanding the protective gear we use should be your thing. KN95 mask is one of the most commonly used air filtering respirators.
With the current demand of this respirator in different countries, we felt the need to dig more about how KN95 masks are made, why they are so exceptional, and their differences with N95. Briefly, a high-quality KN95 respirator is capable of capturing 95% of particles, thus, making it one of the best tools of fighting Covid-19. Remember, these masks are one-time use and dispose of.