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    A Computer System to Predict Chemical Permeation Through Fluoropolymer-Based Protective Clothing

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    Emergency spill response activities often require protective clothing that is an effective barrier to a wide range of chemicals and chemical mixtures. The U.S. Coast Guard Chemical Response Suit uses fluoropolymer film-based Challenge® materials as the encapsulating suit material to achieve high barrier. The results of over 300 permeation tests previously conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard indicate that these materials are excellent barriers to many chemicals and mixtures, however, several chemicals do permeate them. An empirical model or rule system was developed using this data set to predict whether permeation will be detected within three hours at 25°C at a detection sensitivity of 0.05 μg/cm2-min. The model predicts permeation based on the structure and size of the chemical, and when applied to the existing data base, correctly predicts the permeation behavior for 93% of the chemicals tested. A computerized version of the permeation data base and prediction model was developed for Macintosh® computers using SuperCard® for use by personnel with minimal permeation or chemistry training. The computer system provides capabilities to search the existing permeation database and make predictions using the empirical model.


    permeation, predictive model, computer system, fluoropolymer-based films, mixtures

    Author Information:

    Goydan, R
    Senior Consultants, Arthur D. Little, Inc., Cambridge, MA

    Powell, JR
    Senior Consultants, Arthur D. Little, Inc., Cambridge, MA

    Bentz, AP
    Project Manager, U.S. Coast Guard Research and Development Center, Groton, CT

    Billing, CB
    Senior Biometrician, Pfizer, Inc., Groton, CT

    Committee/Subcommittee: F23.96

    DOI: 10.1520/STP19221S