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Proceedings Paper

Evaluation of sensors for use inside chemical protective suits
Author(s): Derrick A. Russell; E. J. Scott Duncan; Stephen Hunt; Eva F. Gudgin Dickson; Glenn E. Weagle
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Paper Abstract

Organizations such as the military, hazardous materials units, first responders and industries involved in the processing and manufacture of chemicals all have requirements for specialized whole body protection for those people in their organizations whose job it is to work with toxic chemicals on a day to day basis or in emergency situations. Currently, excluding chemical biological (CB) challenge scenarios, there is no routine monitoring of the possible ingress of toxic chemicals within chemical protective suits. Under existing national standards, swatches of the protective suit fabric are usually tested for chemical breakthrough and if they meet certain criteria, the suit is considered to provide adequate protection to the individual. Despite advances in protection level research provided by full system protective clothing tests, inexpensive, real-time, sensitive and robust chemical monitoring systems for use both under protective clothing and within a challenge environment, remains a technologically deficient area. This paper presents the results of a preliminary assessment of the feasibility of miniature detectors for monitoring real-time volatile organic chemical (VOC) challenges under chemical protective clothing and in closed environments where such suits are used. Nine gas sensors of n-type semiconductor design (Figaro Engineering Inc) were assessed for their response to a dichloromethane concentration of 560 ppm at a temperature of 23 degrees Celsius and relative humidity of 20%. Absolute voltage output, speed of response to dichloromethane exposure, and time required to return to zero, were considered. The top ranked sensor was further evaluated for its calibration response to a range of dichloromethane concentrations up to 560 ppm. Variables that were considered include effect of temperature and relative humidity, hysteresis and repeatability. Increasing RH causes an increase in the zero output of the sensor with an approximate linear relationship. The sensor response was characterized by minimal hysteresis, indicating that calibration values over the short term are very stable. Calibration responses measured on different days were in excellent agreement.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 November 1999
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 3855, Air Monitoring and Detection of Chemical and Biological Agents II, (30 November 1999); doi: 10.1117/12.371265
Show Author Affiliations
Derrick A. Russell, Defense Clothing and Textile Agency (United Kingdom)
E. J. Scott Duncan, Defense Research Establishment Suffield (Canada)
Stephen Hunt, Qubit Systems Inc. (Canada)
Eva F. Gudgin Dickson, Royal Military College of Canada (Canada)
Glenn E. Weagle, 3M Canada Co., Ltd. (Canada)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3855:
Air Monitoring and Detection of Chemical and Biological Agents II
Joseph Leonelli; Mark L.G. Althouse, Editor(s)

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