Introduction: Covid-19 Masking (Contain, Damage and Kill)

About: Basically I am just a tinkerer and troubleshooter. I like to spend my time in contemplation and when a situation or something of need or interest arises, I usually go over it (if inside a basic understanding o…

Applauding All The Designers and Mask Makers!

How many have watched and shared this video? This a wonderful depiction of what infected countries are up against and provides some real nice ideas about how establishments and people can move towards getting things moving again; safely. Personally, this reveals the need for greater mask making guidelines to be more effective for all.

I am of the sort that believes the basic mask needs to be one that breaks the flow from a cough. It needs to be self-containing and as strongly stated in the video we need to understand that unless you are using a completely sealed respirator and a full hazmat suit we are protecting our neighbor more than ourselves. It is the polite, caring thing to do.

Early on doctors had been saying to cough into yourself and that the sick should wear a mask to help stop the spread. I agree with that, but it is certainly easier said than done, taking into account all the factors and applied forces that come into play regarding viruses and how they progress.

So what we are talking about and working towards for the general public is a better and more effective "Influenza Mask" crafted from greater insight of the mechanics involved and used with a greater sense of personal responsibility. I will share with you my approach and thinking regarding the issue.

Step 1: Selection: a Neck Gaiter

"First and foremost, reiterating, "Take care of your immune system!"
As young people, this is something we take for granted during the peak phase of our lives, but as the elderly will tell you, it isn't long before you begin facing personal health issues in a world of "survival of the fittest". It's not a good idea to take good health for granted.

Personally, the neck gaiter with ear loops or some form of support attachment is the best way to go and what I had purchased for personal use and development. As a baseline, I wanted something I could modify easily and on the fly as we continue with the Covid-19 struggle.

The basic design of neck gaiters is easy and convenient bodywear that can be tucked straight into your shirt or worn loosely over a shirt. The collar should be loose so not to interfere with how the body breathes in the chest and neck area when not being utilized.

The next thing is an inside pouch for covering the nose and mouth. This approach allows for a lot of flexibility regarding filtering or blocking media depending on which way you want to go.

Now it's time to cover some of the mechanics involved from what we know and think likely from facts and personal testimonies from various communities. We try and get the best picture we can so we can do more for ourselves, our loved ones (people and pets) and our environments.

Step 2: Considerations

What we know about viruses, specifically Covid-19, and what has been learned is important when considering material and what you want to accomplish when designing. We know from how 3M designs their N95 masks that they use a matted type of material so contagions twist, turn and snare in the material causing them to become trapped. This is further enhanced by placing a positive charge on the mask to attract and hold viruses and we know that the N95 masks for front line people where not originally designed for long term or permanent use. At home we are now trying to develop the best, most useful PPE we can that is convenient, unobstructive and long standing or permanent.

Why is charging material important? The idea here follows the path of the Triboelectric effect. Simply, the properties of static electricity.

Step 3: Triboelectric Effect

Science has provided greater insight into natures positive and negative forces of attraction and repulsion from the charged ion particles of materials and living organisms.

It is said that viruses tend to carry a negative charge and why 3M went about charging their masks allowing them to be made with less material by being more effective.

From Covid-19 surface studies the virus behaves like this...

  • Destroyed on Copper in about 4hrs.
  • Destroyed on Aluminum in a range of about 2 to 8 hrs, 5 hr average.
  • Destroyed on Cardboard or Paper Products in about 24 hrs.
  • Destroyed on Cotton in about 24 hrs.
  • Survives on Plastic for days. - This fact is interesting since there are so many forms of plastic being used today. Are we being told that all plastic is bad or are certain types of plastic bad. More on this as we move along.
  • Survives for days on Stainless Steel which by the way is not regular steel that is made from iron and carbon, but instead is made from iron and chromium. What I found is that chromium tends to carry a positive charge.

Looking at a layman's chart of typical positive and negative charges opens up some interesting possibilities and avenues. It does appear there is a pattern to this effect. Assuming viruses tend to be negatively charged particles means that they would tend to flow and stick to positively charged surfaces when there are no external forces being applied such as in a quiet unoccupied room . Going down the list....

  • Air, more specifically, Dry Air - during our normal influenza seasons we all know it's static cling season. The air is more dry, increasing its natural positive state and making it more attractive to any negatively charged surrounding material. The effect would tend to keep negative charged material (viruses) more airborne accounting for viral flotation.
  • Dry Skin, Hands, Hair (mammals) - The effect suggests that YOU & I, as mammals, are just one big viral collector. "YOU and again, I are the Cat!", poor thing :-) This of course raises the question of certain types of people and animals. It makes sense to assume this is a variable factor. Oily or dry skin and hair?, what do you use in washing and treating your skin and hair, what do you wear over your skin?, What is the ion charge of the things you use and employ? Are you making it better or worse for yourself? Those people who have testified their experiences with positive and negative ions are likely sensitive to a sudden change. In their natural state they are likely to be in and suffering from a high positive ion state, hence their testimony regarding negative ions and the benefits they perceive. With that in mind we should be able to tell just how much at risk we are individually simply by how we feel around positive and negative ion emissions. A very simple quick check.
  • Rabbit Fur and Cat Fur - Scientists have recently found that cats can carry Covid-19 as we have seen in the news. It is believed that coronaviruses spawn from bats. One can conclude that certain types of mammals that are highly attractive (positive) to viruses play host to the spread and development of viruses. Thinking about bats, we envision tight knit colonies, residing mostly in the dark and remaining, during the day, in shadows and caverns where it can be cool and moist. Makes a lot of sense with what we know today. If at this point anyone wants to lash out at the animal kingdom violently or heartlessly, keep in mind, according to the posted scale, that HUMANS appear to be the worst VIRAL RECEPTORS AND CARRIERS. This is one of the reasons why we have learned and teach personal hygiene. With some more advanced insight we can do even better for ourselves, pets, and environments.

With this basic understanding we can get a better grip on what things are likely to capture and contain viruses for easy disposal and elimination in the home and out. What to look at as likely defenses to keep viruses away. Sort of like "Mosquito Repellent". The possibilities here are endless.

  • Aluminum and Stainless Steel - These are the two pieces that seem to be a little iffy in the chart. Personally, I don't feel the view on Aluminum is correct. According to what has been presented in the media, it's destructive properties suggest it carries a more negative charge than believed, placing it somewhere around copper. We see that in most cases our most common metals fall on the negative charge side. Steel on this list suggests a neutral state, but that depends a lot on what steel they are talking about as mentioned before.

Unfortunately there appears to be some confusion as to what fits where on the presented scales for people to view. The one presented here is the one I liked, but I have seen others that have some of the materials in different places. For an example Wikipedia places wool as a neutral material and the chart I have selected says it is more of a positive material. It's likely best to get a group view when investigating materials.

Ending this subject, do ions destroy or damage viruses. That's a tough one to say for sure, but it certainly is a good best guess and a path to consider and follow. Science would do well to continue advancing in this arena with more surface and environmental research to help everyone.

Step 4: The Gaiter

Now getting back to my neck gaiter / mask, you can see here the design and fabric of this gaiter. The material is a light, mesh like, polyester. It is lightweight and highly breathable. Following the Triboelectric effect, polyester is one of the more negative state materials. Without any external forces involved, polyester would tend to push away viruses. It is not likely to be a collecting material of viruses and if negative ions do harm to viruses then the material could serve to weaken and damage viruses. So, cotton or polyester? Electrically, polyester is a better choice, but it is a personal choice for you to make.

One note about materials I think a person needs to keep in mind is "how you feel" or "how does the material make you feel" when breathing through it. In my opinion, you want to stay with what "feels good". Better for you, better for your immune system. If it's laboring, causing discomfort or creating an ill feeling then something is wrong. Some things go together well and others don't. Something to keep in mind.

Step 5: Creating the Pouch

I wanted to use copper infused material to create an inside pouch. I got the material from a "Copper Fit" knee sock I had on hand. Cut the material to match the width of the front and to the depth desired. Remember you want your breath to be moving back and forth through the pouch. Its depth should be enough to give you some options.

I have noted that with the gaiter you can draw in the chin area for a pretty snug fit by pinching two points of the gaiter at or around the jaw and pulling those points upwards to around the base of the ears. You could put snaps in or sew the points to close up the jaw area. Again, it depends on what you want to achieve.

My goal is to completely block my exhaling and redirect the airflow. I want the air to be filtered with an impenetrable mouth covering while breathing from the chamber created in the neck area by the gaiter.

Remember the video? Well, little to no air flow now. Pretty sure we will be talking less than a foot spread, possibly just a few inches. Whatever it will be, it is certainly far better than 6 to 12 feet every time you cough.

I used 18 gauge copper coated aluminum craft wire to conform to the nose and cheek area. 18 gauge by itself isn't strong enough, so I doubled the wire and working from the center twisted it together to provide a comfortable and bendable ridge for closure against the face. Hem in the wire to the top of the pouch material. Hem the remaining sides and sew the liner to the inside of the gaiter.

Step 6: Creating the Insert

The insert I settled on for the project ended up being three layers of polyester felt. First I tried felt-cotton-felt layering which turned out to be what I had mentioned earlier. The effect of breathing was impacted with a feeling of heaviness and discomfort. I looked at wool, but chose not to because wool is a cold weather material and would likely be to hot as a face material. The best breathing for me is just simple felt material.

I know from investigating how effective a mask is by doing simple little tests like trying to blow out a match, you can use household Cornstarch where some of the particles can be as small as .1 microns. The interesting point here is that cornstarch can be a little smaller than the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, which in size is about .12 microns and spray droplets about are about 3 microns. I determined that it takes about 3-4 layers of felt to achieve good filtering and create a good trapping environment. Try breathing though a filter from a container of cornstarch. As always, be careful.

Polyester is a material that has plastic fibers and you can use this property to your advantage by plastic welding a metal foil to it with a hot iron. Of course aluminum foil is the easiest and most handy choice. What side of the foil doesn't really matter and the iron is just barely hot enough on it's highest setting depending on the make and model.

What I did was sew my three layers together and then welded aluminum to one side as the impenetrable block. You may experience some trouble getting the foil to stick in certain areas. This is because the right type of fibers you need are not in that area. To solve this problem pull some fibers from some of the scrap felt you have and place between the foil and felt. Reheat with the iron. Do this until all the aluminum has been bound to the edges.

Now we have a filtering barrier that directs the airflow into an enclosed chamber of sorts. The chamber environment becomes heated and humid, two conditions that seriously damage viruses. Covid-19? It's possible, but with what we are seeing, it looks like no. Keep in mind though that no matter how hot or cold the environment is, it's not going to stop or destroy any virus in the time it takes for a cough to travel from that person to that person. Only science can tell us if hot and humid works against Covid-19.

The task for a neck gaiter design now is how to go about making that air chamber work for us.

Step 7:

That's pretty much it with some good avenues of conformity for design and developments. The future may demand us, when sick, to move further forward in our outlook and in the steps we take for all.

Do I think the sick should wear masks? Yes, I do. We have our hospital gowns, do we require contagious patients to wear hospital masks? I personally don't know, but it would go a long way in protecting our doctors and nurses. In the home? It could really help out with the household environment.

Is ionization a major factor? If so, we have already crossed over into deeper understanding of the mechanics involved. With what we know, we should be able to make our homes and ourselves more anti-viral. Viruses bond to us externally and then internally where they replicate and like spores, are then spewed into the environment.

We can use our creativity and engineering for defense and cleanup while we wait for a vaccine or we can just wait for a vaccine. The "Live and Let Die" program. Our choice.

Hope it helps.

Live well, Stay Strong!

Note: For disinfection I would recommend using a 3% hydrogen peroxide spray.