While the debate on masks is still going on, the researchers at the University Of New South Wales used a LED lighting system and a high-speed camera to actually prove the effectiveness of different face coverings. “If you’re not sure whether wearing a face mask is worth it, or you need to wear a mask but are unsure which type, our new research should help you decide,” the scientists write. They took videos of people talking, coughing, and sneezing. In one scenario, the person was not wearing any mask; in two others, they wore two different types of cloth masks; and in the last one, the person wore a surgical mask.

More info: University Of New South Wales

The latest case study conducted by the University of New South Wales compares the effectiveness of face coverings

Image credits: UNSW

The conducted experiment revealed that a surgical mask was the most effective one at blocking droplets and aerosols when the person was either talking, coughing, or sneezing. However, the researchers say that if you can’t find yourself such a mask, “a cloth mask is the next best thing.” And apparently, the more layers there are, the better.

People were filmed talking, coughing, and sneezing while wearing different masks, or not wearing any at all

Image credits: UNSW

To film the case study, the researchers used a high-speed camera and LED lighting system which allowed them to visualize the droplets that we otherwise wouldn’t see. The experiment confirmed that speaking, too, does generate droplets. Naturally, coughing and sneezing produce even more of them.

The researchers concluded that to be on the safe side, it’s recommended to wear a mask with at least two layers of fabric

Image credits: UNSW

One of the things that the experiment also helped to see was that, while a single-layer cloth face covering can reduce the spread of droplets, it’s not as good as a two-layered one, let alone a surgical mask. Although researchers say that a 12-layered cloth mask is about as protective as a surgical mask, they “acknowledge it’s difficult to sew together 12 layers of fabric.” So here’s what they recommend: sew at least three layers together; use water-resistant fabric for the outer layer; choose a fabric with a tighter weave; and use hybrid (cotton–silk, cotton–chiffon, or cotton–flannel) fabrics as they provide better filtration.

Watch the video case study below

Image credits: UNSW

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