Dr Hunter said: “We are delighted to be part of this new project and hope our work can help in the battle against the spread of the virus. We will use gas analysers to test the mask’s filter effects to understand how it impacts upon breathing efficiency.”
The new project – supported by the Scottish Funding Council – comes just days after the UK and Scottish Governments indicated that there may be benefits in wearing face coverings.
Stirling-based tensArc specialises in the design of tensile fabric structures, however, has recently turned its attention to creating face coverings for use by members of the public, particularly in work environments where social distancing is more difficult. Scientists working from microbiology facilities at UWS will validate the masks' effectiveness in preventing transmission of the virus.
Professor Fiona Henriquez, Research Lead for the School of Health and Life Sciences at UWS, is an expert in infectious disease. She said: “We are proud to be able to contribute to finding solutions to prevent the spread of coronavirus and other pathogens.”
Paul Baglin, Director of tensARC, said: “To protect each other during an epidemic, the public needs an alternative to medical masks for work settings and when social distancing is not achievable. We have designed a fabric face covering that is fit-for-purpose and lets the wearer breathe normally with much less chance of infecting others.
“Created specifically for source control within work environments, it’s an easy-to-wear, washable and effective face covering that can be part of a lockdown exit plan.”
The University of Stirling is leading 10 major projects investigating the impact of COVID-19 pandemic after receiving almost £500,000 in Scottish Government funding.