How droplets spread when you speak

Date:21 April 2020 Author: Kyro Mitchell Tags:,

No matter how hard you try, it’s inevitable that you’ll produce some droplets, or spit as its more commonly known, when you speak.

To prove exactly how much you spit when speaking, The New England Journal of Medicine has conducted an experiment that shows how the spurts of particles are released when an individual speaks both with and without a damp cloth covering their mouth.

The experiment involved making a ‘light sheet’ of green lasers in a box, researchers were able to illuminate the droplets of spit as they exited the speaker’s mouth who spoke directly into the box.

You can see that while repeating the phrase ‘Stay healthy’ without a mask, a large amount of droplets are illuminated by the lasers (brighter flashes indicate larger drops). As the speaker increases his volume, the amount of droplets increase.

The next phase of experiment saw the speaker cover his mouth with a damp cloth before repeating the phrase once more, and the difference in the amount of droplets is clear for all to see.

As soon as the the speaker covered his mouth with a damp cloth, little to no spit droplets were illuminated by the lasers. This suggests that the risk of infection would be much smaller for everyone around simply because he had a face mask on.

Take a look at the experiment below.

It must be stressed that simply wearing a face mask or covering your mouth with a damp cloth will not protect you from contracting the coronavirus. Face masks are generally meant to be warn by sick people to protect those around them.

Image: NEJM

Latest Issue :

March 2021