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Materials - Testing Materials to determine which one would make a good air filter

posted Jun 3, 2021, 2:40 AM by Owen Breslin   [ updated Jun 3, 2021, 4:03 AM ]
We have all become accustomed to using masks in our everyday lives. However people have used dust masks far longer than this. Air filters that catch dust and other small particles are used in technology all around us. Pupils in 6th class explored the use of air filters recently. 
We listed places that air filters could possibly be used. Some of the possible applications suggested included:
  • dust masks to be worn while working in dusty environments
  • special safety masks to be used while spraying
  • air filters for cars
  • air filters for factories (a relative of one of our children works in a clean room)
  • air filter for the class projector
After discussing these for a while we decided that not all filters would be the same. For example a dust mask may not provide enough protection while spraying dangerous chemicals. We decided to test materials to determine which one would make a good dust mask.
Pupils chose to test J Cloths, microfibre cloth, scrubber, a sponge cloth, paper towel. 

After examining each sample of material, each group performed the following test. Cover the nozzle of a vacuum cleaner with a sample of each test material and try and vacuum some flour. (This represented the dust.)

After an initial test, it was discovered that the vacuum was too powerful and we could not tell how much flour was absorbed by the test material and how much was just let through. 
We covered the nozzle of the vacuum with dark material and we covered this with a sample of each material in turn. This worked much better as we could easily tell how much flour was blocked by the test material and how much went through and was visible on the dark material inside.

The following are the findings of one group.