Efficacy of face coverings in reducing transmission of COVID-19: Calculations based on models of droplet capture

Joshua F Robinson*, Ioatzin Rios de Anda, Fergus J Moore, Jonathan P Reid, Richard Sear, C P Royall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
93 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

In the COVID-19 pandemic, among the more controversial issues is the use of masks and face coverings. Much of the concern boils down to the question—just how effective are face coverings? One means to address this question is to review our understanding of the physical mechanisms by which masks and coverings operate—steric interception, inertial impaction, diffusion, and electrostatic capture. We enquire as to what extent these can be used to predict the efficacy of coverings. We combine the predictions of the models of these mechanisms which exist in the filtration literature and compare the predictions with recent experiments and lattice Boltzmann simulations, and find reasonable agreement with the former and good agreement with the latter. Building on these results, we explore the parameter space for woven cotton fabrics to show that three-layered cloth masks can be constructed with comparable filtration performance to surgical masks under ideal conditions. Reusable cloth masks thus present an environmentally friendly alternative to surgical masks so long as the face seal is adequate enough to minimize leakage.
Original languageEnglish
Article number043112
Number of pages15
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Volume33
Issue number4
Early online date27 Apr 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

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© 2021 Author(s).

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