Saashi’s mask design reaches UK finals

A student from Coleraine Grammar has been selected to compete at the UK finals of a science and engineering competition after her exciting project caught the eye of judges.

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 9:42 am

Saashi Ghaie in Year 10 at Coleraine Grammar will now take her place in this year’s finals of The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Competition.

Saashi has been announced as a finalist for The Big Bang Competition, with the project entitled Improved Face Mask Design and Materials for a COVID-19 World.

After seeing that members of the public and her classmates found it difficult to wear face masks for long periods of time, for her project Saashi wanted to design a more breathable, fabric mask that would provide a better fit and be more comfortable than a disposable surgical mask, while still offering good protection.

Saashi Ghaie
Saashi Ghaie

She created her own means of testing different materials and realised that all woven materials let virus sized particles through so she had to rethink and then developed a mask insert which costs just pennies to produce. The mask insert is made from vinyl acetate and enhances the properties of any fabric mask by preventing droplets from sneezes and coughs leaving the mask body directly.

Dr Hilary Leevers of EngineeringUK said: “Saashi really impressed the judges with her project and we’re excited to see how she does at the UK finals.” The winner will be revealed on June 23.

Saashi Ghaie testing her masks