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The ideal fabric for homemade masks

A mixture of cotton and natural silk or chiffon is the best combination for making homemade masks capable of blocking the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which spreads through tiny suspended particles (aerosols) produced when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or speaks. Tests at the Argonne National Laboratory in the USA suggest that masks made up of cotton and two layers of silk or chiffon block 80% to 99% of the aerosols with which they come into contact (ACS Nano, April 24). Researchers measured the efficiency of the protection offered by a range of fabrics against particles with diameters from 10 to 6,000 nanometers. Masks that used layers of flannel instead of silk or chiffon were also equally effective. According to the study, this combination of fabrics can make homemade masks almost as effective as N95 masks, which filter 95% of suspended particles.