Volume 5, Issue 1 (January 2008)
Influence of Medical Needle Characteristics on the Resistance to Puncture of Protective Glove Materials
Puncture of protective clothing by medical needles is a major concern for a number of professional groups. This is particularly true since it has been shown that the protection level of protective gloves measured using the current puncture resistance standards is not relevant when dealing with medical needles. This paper proposes a step-by-step analysis of the puncture mechanism of membranes by medical needles. It investigates also the influence on the puncture force of various characteristics of medical needles, including the needle diameter, number of facets, and facet angle, for a number of materials relevant to protective gloves. It is observed that the effect of these parameters is sometimes very dependent on the type of material punctured. Tests also reveal that the variation in the measured puncture force for mass-produced three-facet medical needles can be associated with the variation of one of the needle dimensions, i.e., the outer diameter at the transition between the facets. Finally, a study of the effect of needle reuse in successive trials shows that cutting-edge wear is much more extensive with reinforced materials. This justifies the need to use needles only once for measuring the puncture resistance of protective clothing materials.