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The face mask beyond Covid-19: new materials for new functions

Despite the progress in vaccine development, with the first distribution in Italy scheduled for January, the face mask is likely to stay with us for a long time to come. 

Not only because of the need to protect the unvaccinated before full coverage, which will take several months, but also because many have realised that the face mask can be a useful device regardless Covid19.

In Asia, face masks are already used as a form of courtesy and consideration for others, even by people with a cold; as well as for protection against smog and fine dusts in cities. Many products have therefore been created that integrate anti-Covid19 protection and other functions by means of innovative materials.

face mask asiaImage courtesy of pexels.com

The Social Mask, a concept by designer Burzo Ciprian, features a 3D-printed structure in biopolymer with a transparent front “screen” that allows you to see the interlocutor’s face, one of the issues that make masks such an “anti-social” product. The concept also integrates biosensors (to detect asymptomatic people) and electronics (to send information to your mobile phone via an App) in a ventilated filter that prevents the transparent screen from fogging up.
Social Mask
Image courtesy of Burzo Cripian
IDAmask uses three-dimensional fabrics to improve comfort and breathability. The honeycomb structure of the inner fabric reduces the accumulation of water vapour and the rise of temperature, allowing for smoother, more natural breathing. But the most interesting innovation in materials is Fedrigoni’s DropBlock interchangeable recyclable paper filter: its PH of 4.5 (slightly acidic) alters the outer coating of microorganisms, exerting a virostatic action. In addition to the bacterial filtration efficiency of 98%, it also filters fine dust from 0.5µm to 10µm by 99%, for use in the city.

Filtro carta IDAmask
Image courtesy of IDAmask
IDA struttura v2
Image courtesy of IDAmask
Narvalo, a startup created before the pandemic by PoliHub, the Milan Polytechnic’s accelerator, is a fully-fledged anti-smog product: it is currently available with a professional FFP3 filter, but in the future it plans to integrate an electronic component capable of measuring and monitoring the actual level of pollution, reporting the information to the user via an App.
Materially keeps a constant observatory on this and many other material trends, allowing companies to always keep up with innovation in their sector of interest. Discover the Materially Insight Kit  and request your report!
NarvaloImage courtesy of Narvalo


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