Electrospun polypropylene fiber webs and laminates were developed using melt-electrospinning, to explore an alternative way of manufacturing protective clothing materials for agricultural workers. Electrospun polypropylene webs were fabricated in two levels of thickness. To examine the effect of lamination on the protection/thermal comfort properties, the webs were laminated on nonwoven fabric substrates. Barrier performance was evaluated for the electrospun webs and laminates, using two pesticide mixtures that represent a range of surface tension and viscosity. Effects of web thickness and lamination on air permeability and water vapor transmission were assessed as indications of thermal comfort performance. Penetration testing shows that electrospun polypropylene webs provide excellent barrier performance against the high surface tension challenge liquid, whereas the laminated fabrics of electrospun polypropylene webs exhibited performance of 90-100% for challenge liquids with varying surface tension. Air permeability of electrospun polypropylene webs decreased by ∼20% because of the lamination and web thickness, but was still higher than most of the materials currently in use for protective clothing. Water vapor transmission of electrospun polypropylene webs reduced by up to 12% from the lamination and web thickness as well, but was still in a range comparable to woven work clothing fabrics.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Polymers and Plastics
- Materials Chemistry