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Innovative Respiratory Protection for Low Threat Environments


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Chem Bio_defense 

OBJECTIVE: To develop a pressurized respiratory protection device for use in low threat environments without the use of rubber facial or neck seals. 

DESCRIPTION: Current military respiratory protection systems such as the M50 are designed for a high threat environment. In part, the threat level requirements drive the utilization of rubber sealing surfaces onto the wearer’s face and/or neck, which can be cumbersome, uncomfortable, and may impede wearer task performance. This effort seeks to develop a respiratory protective device that is not completely reliant on elastomeric sealing surfaces for protection. Loose Fitting Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPR) utilize the positive pressure of high flow blowers to provide respiratory protection without rubber face seals. However, these loose fitting PAPR systems require significant power and blowers of significant size and weight. Technologies and innovative respirator designs are needed that can remove the rubber from the wearer’s face or neck in low threat environment and provide pressurization without significant power needs, weight, or bulk. This technology would be used in low level chemical or biological hazardous threat environments, would not require protection from highly volatile organic compounds, and could allow for mission durations less than current military air purifying respirators. The measured laboratory respiratory protection level (LRPL) shall be 2000 or greater, for 95% of trials, sampled in the breathing and ocular zone of the respirator. The system blower and battery combined, excluding filtration, shall weigh no more than one (1) pound and be no larger than 42 cubic inches. The battery and blower can be body mounted if needed. The system must be able to withstand a large range of temperature and environmental extremes and must be constructed of materials resistant to low level chemical and biological agents. Noise levels generated by the respirator, at each ear location and at the maximum airflow obtainable, shall not exceed 60 decibels (dBA). 

PHASE I: Investigate alternative protection and pressurization options that would allow for the development of the innovative respiratory protection system, as described. Identify performance and human factors metrics for the system when worn. Perform a benchtop demonstration of the technology to illustrate adequate pressurization/protection in the breathing and ocular zone on an anthropomorphic mannequin exposed to an inert aerosol challenge and with simulated breathing conditions. 

PHASE II: Refine the protection and pressurization technology as identified in Phase I. Develop a full scale prototype system. Demonstrate protection factor levels > 2000 using a human subject LRPL assessment. PHASE III: Complete system refinement. Demonstrate the technology is durable and suitable for military combat applications. 

PHASE III: PHASE III: Complete system refinement. Demonstrate the technology is durable and suitable for military combat applications. PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Potential alternative applications include industrial, pharmaceutical, healthcare, international, and other commercial respiratory protection uses. 




KEYWORDS: Individual Protection, Respiratory Protective Mask, Powered Air Purifying Respirator 


Daniel Barker 

(410) 436-4770 

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