PFE Particle Filtration Efficiency Test

PFE Particle Filtration Efficiency Test

The Particle Filtration Efficiency (PFE) test evaluates the inert particle retention or filtration efficiency of the filter medium and other filtration devices at submicron levels. This test is done on face masks and on all filter materials that allow 1 cubic meter per minute (CFM) flow to pass.

PFE (particle filtration efficiency) measures how well a mask filters submicron particles, viruses and bacteria in anticipation that they will be similarly filtered. Mask efficiency increases as the percentage increases. Although the test can be done using a particle size of 0.1 to 5.0 microns, ASTM F2100-07 specifies that a particle size of 0.1 micron will be used. When comparing test results, it is important to pay attention to the size of the test particles used, since using a larger particle size will produce a misleading PFE rating.

This test, also called Latex Particle Struggle, is required for ASTM F2100 and is performed according to ASTM F2100 and follows the basic principle of ASTM F2299. EUROLAB Laboratory offers a high level of expertise in PFE tests and is one of the only companies to offer this test. In addition, EUROLAB Laboratory can perform all required ASTM F2100 tests.

Example ASTM F2100-07 PFE requirements;


Low Barrier

Medium Barrier

High Barrier

0.1   micron in ASTM F2299 

PFE (Particle Filtration Efficiency)

Not required



Applicable Standards

  • ASTM F2100
  • ASTM F2299
  • EN 149
  • EN 14683

Particle Filtration Efficiency (PFE) Test Media

In the Particle Filtration Efficiency test, the filtration efficiency of the filter media materials against submicron particles cannot be determined using feasible difficult particles. This procedure involves the creation of a particle aerosol using a Particle Measurement Systems (POS) Model EUR-58 particle generator and NIST traceable polystyrene microspheres. Particles are counted with a POS Model EUR-59 or EUR-60 laser particle counter.

The latex particles used in this procedure have a narrow standard deviation, and the design of the PMS particle generator produces a consistent particle difficulty. The test is carried out in a single particle size. Nelson Labs is capable of performing the test at 0.1 µm, 0.3 µm, 0.5 µm and 1.0 µm. ASTM F2100 specifies a particle size of 0.1 µm. The PMS particle counter is an optical laser-based device and operates at a flow rate of 1 cubic foot per minute (CFM) or 28,3 liters per minute (LPM).

What is the purpose of the Medical Face Mask
In the operating room (OR), surgical masks protect the sterile area from possible contamination primarily as a result of coughing, sneezing, or speaking. A mask can also protect clinicians from by-products of surgical procedures, such as bone chips, splashes of body fluids, and smoke hair from laser or electrosurgical techniques. Apart from OR masks, it is used for standard precautions to protect clinicians and patients from pathogens that can be spread by blood or other body fluids, secretions or excretions. Surgical and procedural masks are effective against droplet transmission.

What is the difference between surgical mask and respiratory protection mask
A surgical mask is used to protect the patient environment from contamination inside the operating room or during other sterile procedures. It also protects the clinician from contaminated fluid or debris that occurs during the procedure. Surgical masks have ties so that they can be adjusted for fit and tied on top of a surgical or puffy cap. The procedure mask is used to perform patient procedures or when patients are isolated to protect them from potential contaminants. They are used to protect both patients and staff from the transfer of respiratory secretions or other fluids or debris. They are used for 'respiratory etiquette' to prevent people from spreading germs through speech, coughing or sneezing. Procedure masks have ear loops for quick donning.

You can work with our laboratory EUROLAB for PFE Particle Filtration Efficiency Test.