Elevated concentrations of diesel exhaust have been linked to adverse health effects. Filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) are widely used as a form of respiratory protection against diesel particulate matter (DPM) in occupational settings. The objective of this study was to evaluate NIOSH-certified R95 and P95 electret respirators challenged with Diesel exhaust and get a better understanding of the factors that influence penetration. Two techniques were employed for the measurement of penetration: (a) particle counting technique using a Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer (SMPS, TSI Inc.) which measures particle size distribution, and (b) Gravimetric analysis using polyfluortetraethylene (PTFE) and polypropylene (PP) filters. Gravimetric measurements using PP filters were variable compared to SMPS measurements and biased high as a result of the adsorption of gas-phase semi-volatile material. Relatively inert PTFE filters adsorbed less semi-volatile material resulting in more accurate measurements. To attempt to correct for these artifacts associated with adsorption of semi-volatile material, primary and secondary filters were used in series upstream and downstream of the FFR. Correcting for adsorption by subtracting the secondary mass from the primary mass improved the result for both PTFE and PP filters but this correction is subject to “equilibrium” conditions that depend on sampling time and the concentration of particles and semi-volatile material. Overall, the results demonstrate that great care must be taken when using filters to determine filtration efficiency of FFRs challenged with diesel exhaust. Pure PTFE or other filters that minimize adsorption of semi-volatile artifacts and two filters should be used in tandem to allow correction for adsorbed artifacts. Analysis of SMPS measurements indicated that the respirators behave differently for Diesel exhaust generated at light and heavy load on engine. At light load, the penetration of the R-95 and P-95 respirators showed a steep increase with time, exceeding the maximum allowed penetration of 5% after about 40 minutes. Whereas at heavy load, the respirators were found to have a relatively unchanging penetration (less than 5%) throughout the 90-minute test duration. This difference was attributed to the presence of a high concentration of organic carbon (OC) in Diesel exhaust which has a tendency to degrade the electric charges on the respirators, thus reducing the filtration enhancement from electrostatic attraction forces. To account for the complex nature of DPM and its varying properties with changes in operating and sampling condition, an oxidation-dilution tunnel was designed to produce Diesel exhaust with a controlled set of properties: elemental carbon (EC) concentration, OC concentration, EC/OC ratio and volume flow rate. This device was used to evaluate R-95 and P-95 respirators for solid Diesel exhaust aerosol. The methodology proved to be effective in controlling the EC concentration and total volume flow rate. Results showed that the R-95 and P-95 respirators were more than 95% efficient for solid Diesel exhaust aerosol. This thesis is divided into two parts. The first focuses on the measurement of penetration of FFRs for Diesel exhaust, the second on the development of a standard DPM generator for testing filtration systems.
University of Minnesota M.S.M.E. thesis.July 2015. Major: Mechanical Engineering. Advisors: David Pui, David Kittelson. 1 computer file (PDF); xiii, 82 pages.
Evaluation and development of methods for measurement of penetration of filtering facepiece respirators.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.