Introduction

Individual and collective protection equipment prevents its user from contacting toxic compounds present in the surrounding atmosphere and thus avoid severe injury. The primary item of protection is the personal respirator which is frequently employed both in industrial and military environments. The background of expertise on respiratory protection is its military application which dates back to the First World War, conflict in which chemical agents/weapons were used for the first time. The individual defense technology evolved very quickly since the defenders in Ypres used any available tissue as an instinctive protective mean, until pre-wetted masks produced to cover the entire face, and finally fully sealed mask with eye lenses and filters were carefully designed and produced.

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The introduction of a protective barrier between the individual and the hazard compounds allows for a temporary reduction to its exposure. However, it must be remembered that sooner or later all chemical will end up penetrating through the protective barriers. Depending on diverse factors, this protection time can range from a few seconds to days, but no equipment is capable of protecting its wearer against anything indefinitely. As the incorrect use of the gas masks can cause serious risks to human health it is very important to be able to predict the dynamic behavior of these filters, and consequently its useful time, under different operating conditions.

The objective of this paper is to give an historical overview of the mathematical modeling employed in the field of individual protection.

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