Innovations in Gas Masks

A gas mask is a type of personal protective equipment that forms a sealed cover over the nose, mouth and eyes, or may also include a hood to protect the head and neck. It is worn to protect from airborne chemicals, biological agents and other toxic gases. Despite their effectiveness, they can be uncomfortable to wear for extended periods and some people, such as those with certain lung diseases, cannot breathe through them. Proper fit testing, training, and use are important to ensure a high level of protection and comfort.

A group of Tokyo-based Air Force airmen have converted a standard-issue M-50 joint service general-purpose gas mask into a functioning onboard oxygen system that can be used on aircraft, reports Stars and Stripes. The innovative airmen used off-the-shelf parts and a 3D printer to build an adapter that attaches the gas mask to a hose plugged into an oxygen system.

Other innovations are making their way into gas masks, including carbon filters. These filters can decrease odours and are effective at filtering volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as Ethanol, Butanol, Acetone, Formaldehyde and Benzene.

A wide range of factors can affect the performance of a respirator, including the size and shape of the wearer’s face, breathing pattern, fitness, and decontamination, as well as respiratory resistance. The influence of aerosol size and type on filtration performance is nonlinear and nonconstant, and the efficiency of the mask decreases with higher inhalation flow rates.

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