Gas masks, which are also known as respirators, are designed to protected the user from inhaling polluted air and harmful gases that can reach an individuals lungs. The answer to the question “how to gas masks work” is fairly simple, as they are the protective headgear against any type of dangerous particle transmitted through air.
Such masks cover the entire head and they mainly protect the nose and the head of the user, as well as the eyes and the skin of the face. A great example of a high quality gas mask, is the GP-5 Original Soviet Civilian Protective Gas Mask, with a great design and high protection levels against fumes and gases.
Respirators and gas masks are essentially the same thing. They provide the same type of protection to the head and the inhaling system of the user. The difference is their usage, as respirators are used in sports and similar applications, whereas gas masks are usually referred as military equipment.
How do gas masks work
In order to have a better understanding regarding how gas masks work, you need to think of them as inhalers because their job is very similar. They filter the air so that it can be safely transferred into the lungs of the user, without the polluted air particles from fumes or gases.
One of the basic and most important uses of the gas mask is during emergency situations, such as contaminations or when harmful gas leakages. Also they can be used during construction, if the industrial conditions require so.
Gas masks can protect both from particulate and gas material which can cause lung issues when inhaled. An example of industrial and construction usage of a gas mask, is to avoid inhaling welding fumes, although welding helmets are the most efficient choice in such situations.
The purpose of the gas mask is to purify the air that you breathe. In order to achieve this, gas masks use adsorption and particle filtration. Both techniques take place in order to filter and clean the air, so that it can be safely inhaled by the individual wearing the gas mask.
Particle filtration is used against biological threats, as it is the easiest way to filter the air and keep the dangerous particle away from the user’s lungs. An excellent gas mask model for particle filtration, is the Rubber Mask for Respiratory Protection.
On the other hand, adsorption is used to prevent chemical threats. It is a more complex method of filtering the air, as chemical elements cannot be filtered with particulate filtration. Having a gas mask like the Israeli Rubber Respirator Mask NBC Protection For Industrial Use is going to do the job.
Chemical reaction is the third method used to purify the air when inhaled through a gas mask. It is another fairly simple way, as there are used chemicals in order to neutralize other chemicals and make them harmless or extinguish them. The Czech M10 Gas Mask with Carry Bag is an effective gas mask for chemical neutralization.
How safe are gas masks?
The longevity of the gas mask depends on the longevity and quality of its filter. All filters have a limited period of life, and they have to be replaced once they fill up with chemicals. This happens because they are no longer capable of protecting the user of the mask, due to the disability of filtering the air.
In order to protect the filter when the gas mask is not used, it is advised that a cup is used to seal the filter from particulates and dust. The age of the filter, and the time of exposure to environmental conditions, such as water, humidity or heat are also critical factors that determine the longevity and effectiveness of a gas mask filter.
This is why, owners of vintage gas masks such as Baosity Vintage Steampunk Rivets Gas Mask, need to make sure that they change the old filters with new ones, to make sure that proper air filtering takes place.
In addition to the above, old gas mask filters may cause health problems on their own. After gathering lots of chemical materials in their inner parts, the altered chemical composition of the filter may lead to breathing issues for the user.
For instance, older gas mask models, especially ones used in the World War 2, had blue asbestos in their filters to purify the air. Although it was designed to protect the users, when blue asbestos sits for such long periods of time into the filter, its chemical composition can change and cause harm when inhaled.
That said, blue asbestos is no longer used in modern gas masks as it is considered dangerous for the lungs and breathing of the user. When you are about to choose a gas mask, make sure that you aim for a 40 mm connection mask, which are the safest choice.
A magnificent example of an extra safe gas mask, is the SGE 1 Gas Mask which you can find here. It can be used for military purposes, is was designed to protect the entire area of the face and it has a 40 mm filter, separating the filter from the drinking tubes for more flexibility during usage.
The gas mask designs
There are two main gas mask designs available in the market. Let’s find out which they are:
1 – Two circular windows
The gas masks with two circular windows are considered the original gas masks, as that was the design of the first modern gas masks. The two circular openings serve as windows for the eyes of the user, and they used to be small in size, and thick in order to protect effectively the eyes.
2 – Full face window
The second, newer gas mask design is the full face type. Such gas masks have larger viewing area, and provide better flexibility and higher levels of visibility to the user. This type of gas masks comes either with two filters or a single one, usually in the shape of a hose.
Gas masks are still a great means to purify polluted air and protect the lungs and the general health of the user. They work in a very simple, yet very effective way, and they manage to keep us safe from chemical and biological threats as they filter the air using various techniques.
Before you purchase a gas mask, make sure that you conduct a thorough search, as there are many different high quality models to choose from.
Choose wisely according to your needs!
If you need more information regarding the way gas masks work, watch the video below: