College of Engineering and Polymer Science

Date of Last Revision

2023-05-04 07:41:07


Chemical Engineering

Honors Course


Number of Credits


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Date of Expected Graduation

Spring 2021


Facemask requirements have been heavily implemented as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this study was to test various fabrics that could be used in face coverings and determine which materials are best for reducing virus transmission rates. Of the seven fabrics tested, five were conventional home-use fabrics and the other two were surfaces modified with hydrophobic organosilanes. Wettability and droplet adherence tests were performed on each material. The materials that performed the best were decyltrichlorosilane (DTS) modified cotton, perfluorotrichlorosilane (FTS) modified cotton, and polyester. Contact angles for water droplets on these fabrics were 106°, 93°, and 93°, respectively. For all other fabrics, droplets penetrated through the fabric, although imbibition rates varied significantly. In the droplet adherence study, number average droplet radii measured 0.66 mm for DTS modified cotton, 0.54 mm for FTS modified cotton, 0.76 mm for polyester. For other materials, droplets either quickly passed through or were absorbed by the fabric. Future work could include testing additional materials and further refining experimental procedures to help in distinguishing between the top performing fabrics. In addition, an extensive study on the safety of materials in contact with the skin is critical, especially for the modified surfaces.

Research Sponsor

Dr. Bi-min Zhang Newby

First Reader

Dr. George Chase

Second Reader

Jeff Magistrelli

Honors Faculty Advisor

Dr. Bi-min Zhang Newby



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