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An In-Depth Explanation About N95 and Medical Protective Masks

A common category of masks

According to the function masks can be divided into:

Cold-proof masks

Is our daily use of cotton masks, mainly to play the role of warmth, no anti-drug dust-proof role, mainly civilian.

Medical protective masks

Mainly used by patients or medical personnel, used to stop the spread of liquid splashes, bacteria and viruses.

Anti-particle masks

Mainly used to prevent particulate matter in the air, such as dust, haze, etc., this category is mainly industrial, such as gas station staff, workshop staff, with the seriousness of haze, some anti-haze dust masks are also being used by more and more ordinary people, like PM2.5 mask is one of the categories.

Protective masks

In the case of harsh conditions, to protect the human respiratory organs, face, eyes from being infringed, is a measure of the highest level of facial protection.

This epidemic is mainly due to viruses, to prevent viruses mainly depends on two aspects:

  • Whether the mask has the ability to filter viruses

  • The closed nature of the mask

As long as these two aspects have, there is a protective effect, the first several masks, ordinary masks antivirus ability is very poor, than not with good so little, the latter three have the ability to protect, and anti-particle masks do not all have the function of antivirus, protective masks for ordinary people and too exaggerated, so for us ordinary people, now mainly wear medical protective masks.

Medical protective masks

Medical protective masks in the " medical ", not all refers to is for doctors, but refers to the medical level, according to the use of the scene is divided into medical care masks, medical surgical masks and professional medical protective masks three.

Medical care masks

It has a certain bacterial and viral filtering effect and does not require a barrier effect on blood, nor does it have airtight requirements, and can be used in general medical environments.

When wearing, pay special attention to the fact that the dark-colored side is facing outward, and the light-colored side is attached to the face. The functions and roles of the two sides are different, so don't get confused, because the two sides work differently.

Medical surgical masks

Medical surgical masks are mainly for medical personnel to wear during clinical operations, such as when doing surgery, and medical care masks are not much different in appearance, the main difference is the filtering ability of the middle filter layer of the mask, while medical surgical masks to ensure better sealing, ear straps may be bundled or over the head type.

Professional medical protective masks

It is a protective mask that can filter airborne particles, prevent the spread of certain respiratory infectious microorganisms, block droplets, blood, body fluids, secretions, etc. It can be worn when there is serious environmental pollution or sudden medical infectious diseases, and can stop airborne infectious factors ≤5μmg in diameter or less than 1M contact with diseases spread by droplets, and the filtering ability and sealing are very strong.

The difference between these masks above is also mainly the two points mentioned earlier: filtration ability and sealing, medical care masks are the worst, medical surgical masks are second, professional medical protective masks are the strongest, the following is the comparison of each type of medical mask seen online, where medical disposable masks refer to medical care masks, the last common N95 mask does not refer to medical.

What is N95 mask?

N95 type mask is one of the 9 kinds of anti-particle masks certified by NIOSH (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health), KN95 is China's classification standard for anti-particle masks, referring to masks with filtration efficiency greater than 95% for non-oil particles above 0.075 microns, which is basically the same as the technical requirements and testing methods of the United States, but belongs to different national standards. Similarly, there is the Japanese standard DS2, the European standard FFP2.

Therefore, the N95 mask we mentioned is not a mask brand, it is only a mask that meets the N95 standard, and under this standard, it is divided into N95 with medical protection function and ordinary N95 mask without medical protection function.

What mask should I wear to prevent new coronavirus pneumonia?

In terms of protection effect: ordinary mask < medical care mask < medical surgical mask < ordinary N95 mask < medical N95 protective mask < medical protective mask.

It should also be noted that as an ordinary person, under the premise of considering the protection effect, we should also consider the comfort of wearing, the better the protection, the better the general sealing, the same breathing may be more difficult, resulting in a low sense of well-being in life, so what kind of mask to wear depends on what occasion, for example, in crowded occasions, railway stations, subways wear ordinary N95, which is still the safest, if If there is no N95, N90, which is a little less effective than ordinary N95, is also possible, if it is a daily walk out, pick up the courier and so on, with ordinary medical masks (medical care or surgical masks) can be, so you can make yourself comfortable; if there is no N95 or N90 mask, the worst must also bring ordinary medical masks.

Composition of medical masks


Medical mask is generally composed of mask + ear strap + nose strip, mask is the most important part of protection, divided into inner, middle and outer three layers, using non-woven + meltblown cloth + non-woven fabric process production, the innermost layer against the face is to absorb water and facial comfort, the middle layer is to filter bacteria and viruses, the outermost layer is to stop splashes and large particles of dust.


Many fake masks have only one layer or two layers, some seem to be three layers but the function is almost the same, if in normal times, these masks can also be a little dust, in the current viral rampage, it is simply a financial disaster, because this is no protection, even the most common masks are not as good.

The following is the fake mask called "PIAOAN" searched in Baidu encyclopedia ( PIAOAN has real, just these fake playing the "PIAOAN" banner )


This is my family bought a fake "PIAOAN" mask, in addition to the virus can not be prevented, liars are also, we must pay attention when buying, buy medical protective masks must have the word "medical" above.


Raw materials for the production of medical masks

The raw material for the production of masks is polypropylene, which is processed into non-woven fabric through polypropylene, and then the non-woven fabric is used to make masks.

The following polypropylene (PP) pellets are refined through petroleum:


The following semi-finished products are made from the raw material processing plant using the polypropylene pellets in front:


The following nonwoven producers, using the front fibrillated semi-finished products processed to produce the nonwoven:


All of these links are completed by different enterprises, with these raw materials, you can produce medical protective masks, you can see a seemingly simple mask, in the industrial chain to go through at least 3-4 enterprise cooperation to complete.

Production conditions of medical masks

Now the mask resources are so tight, is not anyone or enterprise can produce it, I read, to have medical mask production capacity, at least need to do the following things::

  • Apply for "medical device business enterprise license";

  • The establishment of a clean and sterile workshop, to meet the requirements of 100,000 class cleanroom;

  • The purchase of production equipment, generally need the following equipment, mask forming machine, ultrasonic point with the machine, continuous sealing machine, coding machine, ethylene oxide sterilization cabinet;

  • Finding raw materials, mainly non-woven fabrics;

  • Recruiting workers;

Theoretical completion of the above work will have the production conditions

How is a mask produced?

With the above production conditions, you can start to work, now it is basically automated, the whole production process is like this.

Step 1: Combine the three layers of non-woven fabric purchased.


Step 2: Sew in the nose strip.


Step 3: Sew the folded part on the mask.


Step 4: Cut into individual face masks.


Step 5: Make up the edge of the mask and press it flat.


Step 6: Solder the ear band.


Step 7: Ethylene oxide disinfection.


Step 8: Quality testing, 7-14 days after disinfection sent to the Quality Supervision Bureau testing, through the factory can be sold.


According to online information, if the production is at full power, a machine can produce a mask in less than one second on average. The most time-consuming part of the whole process is before leaving the factory, after the disinfection of ethylene oxide, which needs to be placed for 7-14 days after the toxic gas evaporates.

Mask market overall market

The main raw material for the production of masks is polypropylene, the current upstream raw materials are sufficient, a ton of polypropylene raw materials can produce disposable surgical masks 900,000-1 million pairs, the production of N95 medical protective masks 200,000-250,000 pairs, if all productivity recovery, the daily production of masks can reach more than 20 million pairs.

From a broader perspective, China is the world's largest producer and exporter of masks, with an annual output of about 50% of the world, and in 2019 China produced more than 5 billion masks, with an output value of 10.235 billion yuan, of which medical masks that can be used for virus protection account for up to 54%, so when there are no masks in China, the international resources for masks are basically also very tight.

Recently, in addition to the original mask production enterprises, many large enterprises also cross-border production of medical protective masks, such as BYD, OPPO, ViVO, Wuling Hongguang, SAIC-GM-Wuling, Foxconn, etc. This will further alleviate the problem of lack of protective masks, I hope the epidemic passes as soon as possible, we all no longer need masks!

An In-Depth Explanation About N95 and Medical Protective Masks