SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1992

Evaluating the Performance of Exhaust Valves for Vapor-Protective and Chemical Protective Dive Suits


A critical component of the vapor protective suit is the suit-mounted exhaust valve. The one-way exhaust valve serves to allow the release of excess pressure inside the suit and also to prevent the leakage of hazardous material from the outside in the reverse direction. Failure of the exhaust valve to perform these functions can result in contamination to the wearer, even though the primary garment barrier materials remain intact. Two test methods are described for characterizing the operational performance of exhaust valves: the inward leakage test and the cracking pressure test. Test apparatus design, instrumentation, and operational problems are discussed, and representative results for some commercially available suit-mounted exhaust valves are presented. Additional tests are described to assess the chemical compatibility of an exhaust valve used in a chemical protective dive suit. A liquid penetration test is described, which is based on the concept developed in ASTM Test Method for Resistance of Protective Clothing Materials to Penetration by Liquids (F 903). Penetration of liquid chemical through the valve (in the reverse direction) is observed while the valve diaphragm faced the chemical challenge. Failure analysis and autopsy of valves after testing indicates that proper valve operation depends on the diaphragm and seal surface's ability to retain original physical properties after chemical exposure. Conclusions and recommendations address the utility of exhaust valve testing and possible modifications or improvements to methods.

Author Information

White, DF
TRI Environmental, Inc., Austin, TX
Greimel, TC
TRI Environmental, Inc., Austin, TX
Stull, JO
TRI Environmental, Inc., Austin, TX
Price: $25.00
Contact Sales
Reprints and Permissions
Reprints and copyright permissions can be requested through the
Copyright Clearance Center
Developed by Committee: F23
Pages: 427–441
DOI: 10.1520/STP19178S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5194-9
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1430-2