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Method for measuring the spatial variability of aerosol penetration through respirator filters.
Huang-C; Willeke-K; Qian-Y; Grinshpun-S; Ulevicius-V
Am Ind Hyg Assoc J 1998 Jul; 59(7):461-465
Fibrous filter media are widely used in respirators to remove airborne particulate matter from the inhaled airflow of workers. The N95 half-mask particulate respirator appears to be the most frequently used respirator under the new NIOSH regulation, 42 CFR 84. Considerable spatial variability in light penetration through the fibrous filter medium of an N95 respirator can be seen by visual observation when it is held to the light. This variability is due to the way in which the fibers are manufactured and laid down to form the filter medium. Similar spatial variability is expected in the aerosol penetration through the filters. Therefore, a test method has been developed for measuring the spatial variability in aerosol penetration. The main components of this method are an aerosol generator, a filter test stand with a movable sampling inlet, an aerosol size spectrometer, and an aerosol photometer. Measurements with the filter media of N95 respirators, tested at average filtration velocities corresponding to light, moderate, and heavy work loads, have shown spatial variations in aerosol penetration in excess of 100% relative to the average aerosol penetration for the entire respirator. N95 respirators are required to be at least 95% efficient (i.e., less than 5% penetrating) at the most penetrating particle size, when tested at 85 L/min. Tests with the new method have shown that the aerosol penetration of the most penetrating particles of about 0.1 micron diameter may locally be higher than 5%, while the average aerosol penetration of 0.1 micron particles is less than 5%.
Aerosols; Aerosol-particles; Respirators; Respiration; Respiratory-protective-equipment; Filters; Filtration; Air-flow; Air-filters; Airborne-particles; Personal-protection; Personal-protective-equipment; Respiratory-protection; Author Keywords: aerosol penetration; filter medium; respirator; spatial variability
Issue of Publication
American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal
University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division