Can masks capture coronavirus particles?
Masks can filter particles as small as 0.007 microns – 10 times smaller than viruses, and much, much smaller than PM2.5.
Coronavirus particles (fancy scientific name “virions”) are spheres with diameters of approximately 0.125 microns (125 nm). The smallest particles are 0.06 microns, and the largest are 0.14 microns.
This means coronavirus particles are smaller than the PM2.5 cutoff, but bigger than some dust particles and gases.
Masks – including surgical masks and N95 masks – can capture viruses and even particles over 10 times smaller.
Several 3M masks were able to capture over 99% of tiny 0.01 micron particles (10 times smaller than the coronavirus), even while on people’s face. What’s more, surgical masks were surprisingly effective, capturing 63% of the tiny virus-sized particles. They are also cheaper and more readily available