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The U.S. Navy currently uses several kinds of chemical protective gloves for protecting personnel in the shipboard environment. Navy shipboard work environments present potential exposure to various acids, bases, organic solvents, can a variety of specialty chemicals, fuels and lubricants. Navy personnel must routinely handle these substances in the course of their duties, and hand protection must be provided. To meet this need, the Navy maintains a large inventory of different gloves rated for specific chemical handling applications. The U. S. Navy Clothing and Textiles Research Facility has sponsored a research study with the goal to develop a single glove which is resistant to flame exposure as well as the priority chemical substances found in the shipboard environment. Certain minimum physical property requirements have also been defined. The experimental work to support this effort has been carried out by TRI/Environmental, Inc., Austin, Texas.
This paper describes interim results of this study, which has been divided into four major phases: (1) surveying existing glove materials likely to meet Navy criteria; (2) identifying new glove candidate materials, (3) evaluating candidate materials; and (4) fabricating prototype gloves. No one glove or glove material was identified which could provide the broad chemical resistance required by the Navy, while also having adequate physical properties. Furthermore, nearly all commercial gloves tested lacked sufficient flame resistance. The project team pursued an approach which combined flame resistant elastomer gloves with film-based glove products, utilizing the film-based glove as an inner liner. The combination was shown to have the potential to overcome both the traditional lack of ruggedness for film gloves and the lack of broad chemical resistance offered by elastomer gloves. Initial prototype efforts have focused on methods to “marry” the two gloves into a single unit, providing a higher level of protection with improved tactility and dexterity for the wearer.
Protective gloves, chemical resistance, flame resistance, physical properties, glove selection, degradation resistance, permeation resistance glove combination
Division Manager, Barrier and Materials Technology Division and TRI/Environmental, Inc., Austin, Texas
Assistant Division Manager, Barrier and Materials Technology Division and TRI/Environmental, Inc., Austin, Texas
Research Chemist, U.S. Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility, Natick, MA