At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic when traditional N95 respirators were in short supply in the United States, there was a need for alternative products that did not rely on traditional avenues of sourcing and manufacturing. The purpose of this research was to develop and test alternatives to N95 respirators that could be produced locally without specialized materials and processes. Through an interdisciplinary team of experts, new mask designs that use repurposed filtration media and commercially available components were developed and tested for filtration and fit against current N95 standards. Filtration efficiency test results showed that the filtration media can be used for high-quality facemasks and quantitative fit testing demonstrated that the new mask designs could be viable alternatives to traditional N95 facemasks when those masks are in short supply. Manufacturing viability was tested utilizing a workforce to create 6000 masks over 10 days. The ability to quickly produce masks at scale using a workforce without specialized skills demonstrated the feasibility of the mask designs and manufacturing approach to address shortages of critical healthcare equipment, mitigate risk for healthcare and essential workers, and minimize the transmission and spread of disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number015001
JournalJournal of Medical Devices, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this research was provided by the University of Minnesota Institute for Engineering in Medicine and the University of Minnesota Office of Discovery and Translation. This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, Grant No. UL1TR002494. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by ASME.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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