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Development of a new test system to determine penetration of multi-walled carbon nanotubes through filtering facepiece respirators
  • Published Date:

    Jul 2013

  • Source:
    J Aerosol Sci. 61:50-59.
Filetype[PDF-1.13 MB]

  • Alternative Title:
    J Aerosol Sci
  • Description:
    Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are currently used in numerous industrial and biomedical applications. Recent studies suggest that workers may be at risk of adverse health effects if they are exposed to CNTs. A National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) survey of the carbonaceous nanomaterial industry found that 77% of the companies used respiratory protection. Elastomeric half-mask respirators and filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) are commonly used. Although numerous respirator filtration studies have been done with surrogate engineered nanoparticles, such as sodium chloride, penetration data from engineered nanoparticles such as CNTs are lacking. The aims of this study were to develop a new CNT aerosol respirator testing system and to determine multi-walled CNT (MWCNT) penetration through FFRs. A custom-designed CNT aerosol respirator testing system (CNT-ARTS) was developed which was capable of producing a sufficient amount of airborne MWCNTs for testing of high efficiency FFRs. The size distribution of airborne MWCNTs was 20-10,000 nm, with 99% of the particles between 25 and 2840 nm. The count median diameter (CMD) was 209 nm with a geometric standard deviation (GSD) of 1.98. This particle size range is similar to those found in some work environments (particles ≤6000 nm). The penetration of MWCNTs through six tested FFR models at two constant flow rates of 30 and 85 LPM was determined. Penetration at 85 LPM (0.58-2.04% for N95, 0.15-0.32% for N99, and 0.007-0.009% for P100 FFRs) was greater compared with the values at 30 LPM (0.28-1.79% for N95, 0.10-0.24% for N99, and 0.005-0.006% for P100 FFRs). The most penetrating particle size through all six tested FFR models was found to be in the range of 25-130 nm and 35-200 nm for the 30-LPM and 85-LPM flow rates, respectively.
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