(193c) Synthesis of a Chemically Protective, Moisture-Vapor Permeable Polymeric Membrane for Use in Protective Equipment

Orbey, N., University of Massachussetts - Lowell
Pomerantz, N., U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center
Lum, J., Natick Army Research Labs
Anderson, E., Battelle Natick Operations
Truong, Q., US Army NSRDEC
A chemically protective polymeric membrane that retains good moisture vapor properties was developed and characterized. Traditional chemical protective equipment works by providing an impenetrable barrier that blocks most chemicals from permeating through the polymer. Although effective against hazardous chemicals, these barriers have poor moisture vapor transport, which leads to significant discomfort for the user during prolonged use. This research demonstrates that good moisture vapor transport properties can be achieved by the introduction of a porous network using an insoluble pore former. Normally the chemical protective attributes would be lost, but they can be restored through the incorporation of microencapsulated activated carbon (MAC) directly within the porous matrix. The moisture vapor transport and chemical barrier properties are characterized using a dynamic moisture permeation cell (DMPC) and a chemical permeation test cell. The effects of polymer solution composition, pore former loading, and MAC concentration on the moisture vapor transport and chemical barrier properties are characterized. SEM and TEM microscopy is used to evaluate morphology.