In the fight against the growing shortage of surgical masks, John van den Dobbelsteen and Tim Horeman, researchers at the department of Biomechanical Engineering of TU Delft in Holland together with labmanager Rob Luttjeboek, have developed a successful way of testing reused sterilised surgical masks, and surgical masks made of new materials.
In cooperation with Bart van Straten, director of Van Straten Medical (VSM), they also tested a new way of sterilising surgical masks. The used surgical masks were sterilised following a specific protocol, on 121 degrees celsius. They have been tested at TU Delft and at the Reinier de Graaf Hospital. The results are promising. Research showed that sterilising FFP1 and FFP2 surgical masks using steam is definitely an option, as opposed to earlier reports in the media. Also, new materials have been tested who can be used as an alternative if the regular surgical masks run out of stock.
‘Visual inspection of the surgical masks after sterilisation show no deformation, permeability or damage to the paper. We have also compared the sterilised masks with new ones. The only difference seems to be that the elastic seems to be more vulnerable after resterilising using steam. This can be easily replaced though. Read more…. (in dutch)