Doubling up with silk improves effectiveness of surgical masks | University Of Cincinnati – University of Cincinnati

Masks are becoming a growing source of litter around the world.

“They take a long, long time to degrade,” Guerra said.

So taking full advantage of each mask’s useful lifespan can help prevent waste, he said.

Guerra studies the amazing properties of silk in his biology lab. Silk fiber has antimicrobial properties. And silk is hydrophobic, which means it sheds water unlike cotton masks that typically absorb it.

And silk is far more breathable than cotton.

“We showed that a silk mask doesn’t increase the burden of breathing when used in a double layer with a surgical mask. It wasn’t uncomfortable,” Guerra said. “And it enhances the ability of surgical masks to do their job.”

Featured image at top: UC student Adam Parlin holds up a silk face mask in a biology lab. Photo/Joseph Fuqua II/UC Creative + Brand

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