ANSI Panel OKs New Chemical Permeation Testing Standard

The ASTM F2815 standard explains how to use a computer program called a permeation calculator to analyze data following a permeation test.

A computer program developed at NIOSH's National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory is the focal point of a new ASTM International standard that will be useful to wearers of chemical protective clothing. The standard -- ASTM F2815, Practice for Chemical Permeation Through Protective Clothing Materials: Testing Data Analysis by Use of a Computer Program -- was developed by Subcommittee F23.30 on Chemicals, part of Committee F23 on Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment. The Permeation Calculator computer program analyzes data from a permeation test.

"In the absence of the practice, data analyses for permeation testing of chemical protective clothing are performed in different manners, such as hand calculation or in-house developed methodologies," said Pengfei Gao, research physical scientist at NPPTL and an F23 member. "It was found that the differences in hand calculation of breakthrough time could be up to 25 percent or more, raising a question if a clothing item can be worn for eight hours or less than six hours before skin is harmed from hazardous chemicals."

Some permeation parameters, such as standardized breakthrough time and cumulative permeation for an open-loop test, are mathematically complex and time-consuming without a computer program. "The computer program provides a user-friendly tool for the data analysis," Gao said. "After importing a permeation data file, the program asks the user to enter required variables and information." Once variables are entered, the program quicklycalculates all of the permeation parameters related to:

  • ASTM F739, Test Method for Permeation of Liquids and Gases Through Protective Clothing Materials Under Conditions of Continuous Contact
  • ISO 6529, Protective Clothing -- Protection Against Chemicals -- Determination of Resistance of Protective Clothing Material to Permeation by Liquids and Gases
  • ASTM D6978, Practice for Assessment of Resistance of Medical Gloves to Permeation by Chemotherapy Drugs (if applicable)

Results are presented with relevant information and the permeation curve in a report file. The computer program is available free at www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/PermeationCalculator/permeationcalc.html.

Committee F23's next meeting will take place June 14-16 in Anaheim, Calif.

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