To examine the potential of electrospun nanofibrous webs as barriers to liquid penetration in protective clothing systems for agricultural workers, layered fabric systems with electrospun polyurethane fiber web layered on spunbonded nonwoven were developed. Barrier performance was evaluated for the layered fabric systems with different levels of electrospun web area density, using three pesticide mixtures that represent a range of surface tension and viscosity. Effects of electrospun web density on air permeability and water vapor transmission were assessed as indications of thermal comfort performance. Pore size distribution was measured to examine the effect of electrospun fiber web layers on pore size. Penetration testing showed that a very thin layer of electrospun polyurethane web significantly improved barrier performance for challenge liquids with a range of physicochemical properties. Air permeability decreased with increasing electrospun web area density, but was still higher than most of protective clothing materials currently available. No significant change was observed in moisture vapor transport of the system from electrospun nanofibrous web layers. Pore size distribution measurements indicated the feasibility of engineering pore size via the level of electrospun web area density, hence, controlling the level of protection and thermal comfort of layered fabric systems depending on their need.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
- Polymers and Plastics