Well, what a time that we’ve had! At the time of writing, here in the UK, the majority are double-jabbed and things are getting back to normal. What seems to be happening is that, as in the Far East, people are now seeing the benefits of wearing a mask. This is for virus, of any kind, protection and then there is another aspect. On my first trip to London, post lockdown, I stood outside Euston Station coughing my lungs up because of the taste of diesel in the air!
Enter Craft Cadence and their VirtalOff reusable mask v2 – quite a title and quiet a mask. One of the dangers of filters in masks is that of tiny metal particles that can enter our lungs! Not so, with the Craft Cadence mask.
Here are the key features:
- Swedish ViralOff technology that claims to reduce viruses by 99% within 2 hours
- Internal nano fibre layer certified filter, taking out 99% of particles at 0.3 microns
- Stay-fresh technology that reduces our creating bacteria by 99%
- A metal nose wire than negated glasses steaming in our daily use
- Reusable and washable fabric, with an optional additional filter
Of the mask’s construction, the outer and inner layers are polypropylene. However, the the middle layer is made using nanofiber technology, which is different to traditional melt blown methods using polypropylene as the base polymer. Melt Blown filters are the incumbent technology used by most mask suppliers and during Craft Cadence’s redesign of the filters, they recognised that the biggest drawback of the melt blown filters was the loss of filtration efficiency after washing. This is something rarely disclosed by most manufacturers, and this is not surprising considering that even after a few washes, traditional melt blown filters can lose 1/3 of filtration efficiency. By comparison, nanofibre filters retains its filtration efficiency much more effectively than melt blown filters. Craft Cadence’s own internal tests showed reduction in filtration efficiency of less than 1% after 5 washes.
The nanofibre technology uses the electrospinning method. In this method, the melt-blown process is replaced by a process where electric fields are applied to draw out, and produce continuous fibres that are extremely thin (0.001 to 0.5 microns in diametre, as opposed to 2 microns for melt blown technology). This results in fibres that are even more tightly bound than melt-blown fabrics and hence resulting in a dense filter that retain their filtration efficiency for longer. The filter also more porous, allowing for higher air permeability, which in turn, arguably leads to better breathability.
The base polymer for the nanofibre filter in our mask is polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF), which is not a common polymer for mask filters but this polymer is well suited to the electrospinning method to create nanofibre.
For those who are wondering if the mask outer layer is water-repellent, yes it is.
For a deeper dive into the science of masks, please have a read of the following articles:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7323055/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7429109/ https://craftcadence.com/blogs/backpacks/nanofibre-versus-melt-blown-mask-filters-why-n95-n99-filters-are-not-all-created-equal
As far as what is the mask like to walk, run and ride in? I personally find most masks aggravating, especially if they loop around my ample ears. And then there is the spectacle misting. Whatever I have worn the mask for, I have not had any issues. Getting the fit right, takes a few minutes and then you are up and running. Yes, looping the mask strap over your head is different to the ear loop masks, but well worth it for the viral and pollution protection.
If you choose to buy one of these masks, be sure to follow the sizing guides and get measuring. More details can be found here: