May 01, 2021

Sustainable Solutions For Air Filtration

A Major Breakthrough In Face Masks Protection

The mandatory use of face covering masks had an immediate and negative environmental impact, as the generalized adoption of disposable masks generated an enormous amount of additional plastic waste.

According to World Wildlife Fund*, improper disposal of just 1% of face masks translates to more than 10 million items, weighing 30,000 to 40,000 kg.The presence of polypropylene in these masks makes their degradation time very long, hence potentially affecting ecosystems in the case of improper disposal.

This context boosted a consortium of French companies, led by Pracartis Group and with the participation of Saint-Gobain Performance Ceramics Refractories, to develop a revolutionary solution for reusable face masks: the Precimask®.

Its main differentiating feature lies in the use of cleanable and compact ceramic filters, which can achieve an excellent trade-off between retention efficiency and breathability. The filters can provide a filtration efficiency equivalent to surgical masks (> 95% retention of bacteria-inoculated aerosols of 3µm, ref. EN 14683 AC), with an enhanced tightness to ensure a reliable and high level protection. Thanks to its specific construction material, the innovative filtration medium developed and patented by Saint-Gobain Crystar® filtration, the mask can be easily cleaned and reused over and over, without losing any of its functional properties. With an adequate use and maintenance of the mask, its expected lifetime can reach several years, even several decades, hence generating a minimum of waste. Another significant advantage is that the mask has no shelf life limitation, making it the perfect solution for safety stocks.

The Precimask® has other interesting features, such as translucency and the use of biocompatible silicone to ensure maximum comfort and durability. The tight adjustment to the wearer’s face ensures an optimized protection against harmful microorganisms transmitted by respiratory droplets such as the ones produced during speaking, coughing or sneezing. This major technological breakthrough is a great example of how Saint-Gobain Performance Ceramics Refractories can offer its extensive knowledge in ceramic materials science to partner with its customers in the development of more sustainable solutions that can make the world a better home.