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A common problem among users of chemical protective clothing is the lack of a practical, consistent basis for comparing and characterizing the permeation barrier effectiveness of different protective clothing materials. This becomes a particular problem for generic materials (for example, neoprene) for which differences in raw materials, additives, and manufacturing techniques can result in differences in permeation resistance for the same material made by different manufacturers.
An approach to resolving this problem is described which uses permeation testing with a solubility-parameter-based set of test chemicals as a basis for comparing clothing materials. A proposed test battery is presented, and the rationale behind it, as well as its potential usefulness, is discussed.
chemical protective clothing, permeation, permeation testing, chemical test battery, permeation resistance, solubility parameters, protective clothing
Senior research chemist, Health and Environmental Sciences, Dow Chemical U.S.A., Midland, MI