Ford DIY COVID Air Filtration Kit Validated by Scientific Research Journal

Ford Motor Co.’s do-it-yourself Scrappy Filtration kit designed to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 virus particle concentration in the air is featured this month in the scientific journal Physics of Fluids.
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Ford DIY Filtration Kit
Ford Motor Co’s do-it-yourself Scrappy Filtration system can be put together by students in school. // Photo courtesy of Ford

Ford Motor Co.’s do-it-yourself Scrappy Filtration kit designed to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 virus particle concentration in the air is featured this month in the scientific journal Physics of Fluids.

The kit, developed by the Dearborn-based automaker in conjunction with Pennsylvania’s Lasko Products, can be assembled at home or in school.

Scrappy Filtration, as it’s called by Ford’s COVID-19-fighting Project Apollo team, is an air filtration kit made from an easy-to-assemble die-cut cardboard base, a 20-inch Lasko box fan, and a 20x20x4-inch air filter with a standard minimum efficiency reporting value of 13. The air filter is placed inside the folded cardboard base, with the fan placed on top. The fan operates on high for maximum filtration, discharging clean air downward as it pulls unfiltered air from above.

Ford and Lasko are donating 20,000 of these easy-to-make kits to underserved communities. Featuring an open-source design, the kit can be used by others interested in making their own to help reduce COVID-19 in rooms and other enclosed spaces.

In conjunction with the Ford Fund, the company’s philanthropic arm, Ford has shipped most of the 20,000 planned units to organizations in underserved communities, including school districts in Los Angeles, New York City, and throughout southeast Michigan.

“We wanted to help underserved communities reduce the risk of airborne COVID-19 in poorly ventilated areas, and it’s great to not only develop something that can meet that goal, but has the data to back it up,” says Cynthia Flanigan, director of vehicle research and technology for Ford research and advanced engineering. “We engaged with technical leads from University of Minnesota, as well as other scientists doing research in this space, such as Well Living Lab to make sure our research was rock-solid.”

Led by Ford, with the University of Minnesota, the article titled “Airborne Transmission of COVID-19 and Mitigation Using Box Fan Air Cleaners in a Poorly Ventilated Classroom” cites an investigation using supercomputer air flow analysis to determine if a low-cost box fan air cleaner can mitigate the risk of airborne transmission of COVID-19 in a classroom equipped with a single horizontal unit ventilator.

The study found that box fan air cleaners like this can serve as an effective low-cost alternative for mitigating airborne transmission risks in poorly ventilated spaces. In addition to the peer-reviewed article, research conducted by Well Living Lab, founded as a collaboration between Delos and Mayo Clinic, found similar air purifiers were effective at improving air quality in poorly ventilated areas.

A downloadable template for Scrappy Filtration can be found here.

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