Stony Brook University released an article detailing its preliminary research and findings on the efficacy of dry heat sterilization on personal protective equipment (PPE). The research team used a Gruenberg dry heat sterilizer to determine if there was degradation of the N95 masks after several rounds of dry heat treatment. Results from the testing were positive, showing that the heat treatment did not cause visible structural damage and had no effect on the straps.

“Fit-test scores were virtually identical between masks processed through four repeated cycles, suggesting that this approach could effectively increase the usable supply of N95 masks by a factor of five,” said Dr. Shroyer of Stony Brook University. “It appears that the heat treatment can also be used to treat other types of surgical face masks.”

After initial tests, the Gruenberg team visited the site to test with thermal data collection probes inserted into the masks along with bacterial biological indicators populated by Stony Brook and retest. These tests indicated a positive six log kill, which means that 99.9999 percent of the biological material is killed. A six log kill is needed to claim disinfection. The Stony Brook University team reviewed all of the test cycles along with the thermal data collected to make modifications to their sterilization protocol.

Read the full article for details on this research.