How to perform the fire test on your surgical mask?

Due to the pandemic and the crisis we have met, the shortage of masks like surgical masks and N95 respirators is why the forged mask or counterfeit masks are quite commonly being found in the market outside.

But there are a few characteristics of a true mass that we will be covering in this article below, and we will make sure to learn to perform the fire test on the surgical masks. Below are the points that are necessary to cover the four finally reaching our conclusion,

  • Tests performed on a surgical mask and reason for the tests being performed

Many tests are performed on surgical masks to determine whether or not the surgical mask is true and stands by the principles it is manufactured on. Below are some of the tests that are constantly performed so that you can find out the truthfulness of a surgical mask,

  • Water Test: 
      • The surgical masks are designed so that they are water repellent when it comes to the outermost layer of the mask.
      • When the outermost layer of the surgical mask is exposed to whatever, you will find out that it does not absorb any water and repels every single drop of water, therefore, proving that it does not allow penetration of any cough droplets or sneeze droplets into the inside and out of the mask and vice versa.
  • Fire Test:
      • The surgical masks are made to go through the fire test to prove the principle of its filter layer or the middle layer. We also call it the filter media, which is made out of the melt-blown fabric extracted from melt blowing polypropylene.
  • The layer test: 
      • This is a straightforward test that is performed to understand the authenticity of the mask you have.
      • The surgical masks are told to be three landmarks, whether two layers protecting the middle layer and the middle layer being made out of the non woven fabric extracted from melt-blown polypropylene.
      • Therefore a mask having three layers of fabric is an authentic mask.
    • Performing the fire test on your surgical mask
      • Materials Required: To perform the fire test, there are a few materials that you need to have in hand to perform the test well and not get yourself injured. Below are the required instruments as well as materials for performing the fire test on the surgical mask,
      • The first article you require to be performing the fire takes on the surgical mask is a surgical mask itself.
      • The other article required for performing the fire test on the surgical mask is a pair of scissors.
      • The next material in line to perform the fire test on a surgical mask is a matchbox.
      • The next product you will require to conduct the test is a candle.
      • Just so you are very well prepared in case of any fire outbreak, you should have a fire extinguisher or a bucket of water with yourself so that you can diffuse the fire at the very instant it starts getting dangerous.
      • Last but not least, put a utensil or some paper, preferably a newspaper, below the apparatus of your experiment so that you do not create a mess around you.
      • Involved Principle: When one experiments, he or she should be very well aware of the principle that is working behind the very experiment so that you can come to a better conclusion. The involved principle in the fire test of the surgical mask is written below,
      • The principle behind the fire test being performed on the surgical mask is, 

    "The filter media present in a surgical mask is manufactured out of the nonwoven fabric extracted from melt blowing a polymer named polypropylene." 

    • Method: Below are the methods that you need to undergo for or performing the fire test on the surgical masks and getting to a conclusion that you want to extract,
      • The first step that goes into performing the fire test on a surgical mask is, take the surgical mask which is available to you and in the best condition.
      • Now take the pair of scissors instructed in the materials required and slice the surgical mask down from the very middle of the mask in a transverse section.
      • Take one of the sections and extract out the middle layer or the in-hand Surgical Mask filter media.
      • Keep the filter media with you and discard the other items that are on the mask.
      • Take the candle as mentioned and light it using the Matchbox.
      • Bring the extracted filter media to the flame of the candle and let its temperature rise high.
      • You will see that the filter media now has started to melt and did not catch fire with the rising temperature.
    • Conclusion: Being the last part of an experiment that has been performed, the conclusion finally stands to sum up the experiment and prove the principle that has been discussed ahead. Below are the confusion that can be drawn from the experiment conducted,
      • When you find the fabric or the filter medium brought to the temperature rise with the candle flame's help and it does not catch fire and melts down, you have a surgical mask that is true to its nature.
      • Just the vice versa conclusion that can be brought out of the experiment is that if the fabric or a filter media catches fire like a burning paper, then you can be sure that you do not have a true surgical mask, and you have a counterfeit surgical mask.

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