Improving the Performance of Protective Face Masks - 2019 Sustainability Report

The Challenge

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a need for greater numbers of N95 respirators and surgical masks than ever before, which resulted in a global shortage that stands at unprecedented levels. Although industry leaders retooled to produce more masks, manufacturers and suppliers still struggled to bridge the gap between demand and supply.

N95 and surgical masks both rely on multi-layer construction, with a middle layer made from melt-blown non-woven material. This layer filters out aerosols and particulates containing bacteria and viruses to protect the wearer and those around them. Avient helped one customer improve their protective masks to better satisfy global demands.

The Solution

MagIQ™ Non-Woven Electret Plus improved the dielectric properties in this customer’s face masks, extending filtration efficiency and the length of time masks will hold a charge. This masterbatch was necessary for the manufacture of melt-blown non-woven polypropylene used to make the protective face masks with longlasting filtration properties.

The Impact

By introducing additives with charge storage properties, “charge traps” were created to capture the electret charge being applied to melt-blown non-woven material. With proper ingredient selection and processing, MagIQ™ Non-Woven Electret Plus helped the middle layer of these protective masks effectively trap particles as small as 0.3 microns.