Volume 141, Number 2, January 2023
|Number of page(s)||7|
|Section||Biological and soft matter physics|
|Published online||18 January 2023|
Model studies on motion of respiratory droplets driven through a face mask
1 Department of Physics of Complex Systems, S. N. Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Block- JD, Sector-III Salt Lake Kolkata 700106, India
2 Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tel Aviv University - Tel Aviv 6997801, Israel
Received: 21 July 2022
Accepted: 3 January 2023
Face masks are used to intercept respiratory droplets to prevent spreading of air-borne diseases. Designing face masks with better efficiency needs microscopic understanding on how respiratory droplets move through a mask. Here we study a simple model on the interception of droplets by a face mask. The mask is treated as a polymeric network in an asymmetric confinement, while the droplet is taken as a micrometer-sized tracer colloidal particle, subject to driving force that mimics the breathing. We study numerically, using the Langevin dynamics, the tracer particle permeation through the polymeric network. We show that the permeation is an activated process following an Arrhenius dependence on temperature. The potential energy profile responsible for the activation process increases with tracer size, tracer bead interaction, network rigidity and decreases with the driving force and confinement length. A deeper energy barrier led to better efficiency to intercept the tracer particles of a given size in the presence of driving force at room temperature. Our studies may help to design masks with better efficiency.
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