SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1988

An Improved Air-Supplied Plastic Suit for Protection Against Tritium


A new two-piece, air-supplied, plastic suit has been developed for use in atmospheres containing tritium oxide (HTO). The suit material is 9 mils thick and consists of two 4-mil pieces sandwiched around a polyester scrim for added strength. Each of the 4-mil sections is a laminate of vinylidene chloride (Saran), chlorinated polyethylene (CPE), and ethylene vinyl acetate. The Saran/CPE suit material and 12-mil polyvinyl chloride (PVC), the suit materials previously used in HTO atmospheres, were tested for tritium permeation by the Radian Company. Tritium permeation testing was done in accordance with the ASTM Test Method for Resistance of Protective Clothing Materials to Permeation by Liquids or Gases (F 739-85) using the Radian Microcell. Liquid scintillation counting techniques were used to measure the amount of HTO collected. The two plastic suit materials were challenged with the following: HTO/Duo Seal, 1 mCi/mL. Tritiated water (10 mCi/mL) permeated both materials; however, permeation was at least four times slower, and breakthrough six times longer, for Saran/CPE. HTO in Duo Seal penetrated the 12-mil PVC in 100 min, but did not penetrate the Saran/CPE during the entire 480-min test. No breakthrough was detected with either material when challenged with HTO (1 mCi/mL) in Freon TF or ethanol. The Saran/CPE suit material provides significantly better protection against tritium oxide than 12-mil PVC. In addition, the Saran/CPE plastic suit has an internal noise level of 73 dba, is self-extinguishing, and provides a protection factor of greater than 20 000 when tested against a polydispersed aerosol.

Author Information

Wiernicki, C
Exxon Biomedical Sciences Inc., East Millstone, NJ
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Developed by Committee: F23
Pages: 518–524
DOI: 10.1520/STP26318S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5058-4
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1167-7