ITB Held Mask Feasibility Test as Part of Community Service

By Adi Permana

Editor Vera Citra Utami

BANDUNG, Masks during this pandemic era are very crucial. Thus, masks that are being produced in the community should be tested for the feasibility. ITB, through the Laboratory of Air Quality (LKU) of Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering (FTSL), has been contributing in mask testing during the pandemic.

Head of Laboratory of Air Quality FTSL ITB Dr. Ir. Adyati Pradini Yudison said that the Laboratory of Air Quality under FTSL ITB supports educational programs, researches, and community services.

People should always wear masks during social activities in the pandemic. For that, the lab wants to provide mask testing as a form of community service so people would know the quality of the mask they are using.

“We are trying to contribute to the process of masks standardization progress. This mask testing is a form of community service that we participate in.”
She explains that the testing has been running since August 2020. The idea was originated by an alumna, which was then realized by Ir. Haryo Satriyo Tomo, S.T., M.T. as technical manager in LKU who built the testing kit and utilized provided activities. “We are waiting for official accreditation for this testing parameter,” he stated.

There are 3 parameters in the testing. The first one is bacteria filtration effectiveness (BFE) test to acknowledge how far are the bacteria and other microorganism filtration, particle filtration effectiveness (PFE) test to acknowledge particle filtration power, and the last is pressure test to acknowledge the mask’s comfort rate to use. He mentioned that a lot of local mask companies were submitting their masks to be tested.

“We are helping companies with providing quality tests for their masks. A lot of companies are upgrading their quality afterwards and later re-submitted them to be re-tested. I think that the testing kit held a big role in fighting against Covid-19,” he said.

Mask Testing ParametersBFE test is one of the test parameters. Thus, a multidiscipline collaboration between Laboratory of Air Quality and Laboratory of Microbiology and Bioprocess Technology under Faculty of Industrial Technology (FTI) is done. The test used staphylococcus bacteria culture, which is cultured for testing needs. The test would not be using any virus for it would be more complex and needs other hosting cells.

Dr. Made Tri Ari Penia Kresnowati, S.T, M. S., a lecturer from FTI added that the BFE test result is depending on the number of bacteria inside the container. More bacteria sticking means less value of the BFE test.

She explained that N95, as a medical mask, is one of the good qualified ones. “Basically, BFE test is a test in which we can find out how much of a barrier from bacteria-contained aerosol a mask is, so that the mask user feels comfortable while using them,” she said.

Another parameter used is pressure difference test. The parameter is measured by the difference in pressure on the mask. This test is also known as breathability test, in which higher pressure means that less air to enter and less easier it is for the user to breathe. Last one, PFE test or also known as Particle Filtration Effectiveness test is performed to measure the mask’s effectiveness in filtrating droplets from the respiratory system.

Penia also added that this mask testing is performed for a lot of local businesses to support locals to produce masks. However, numbers of multinational companies are starting to trust the lab for mask testing. The testing was also performed for COVID-19 front liners who held a masks giveaway program.

Reporter: Adi Permana
Translator: Tamara Maharani Alamsyah

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