Personal protective equipment (PPE) has gained more attention than ever due to its importance as a covering against COVID-19. PPEs are used for overall protection in the form of clothing or any similar devices such as helmets, goggles, and others that help ascertain the health and safety of anyone wearing it against biohazards, heats, chemicals, and burns. It also decreases the spread of the virus among people in close proximity.
The recent pandemic has made PPEs come into more prominence, increasing the rate of interest of people in manufacturing it. Here are some of the best materials to be used for production:
- Heat-Resistant Wool
Wool is a textile fiber that’s obtained after thorough processing from sheep and other animals. They‘re useful in making masks when designing PPE because their exteriors repel water and aerosolized particles, a term referred to as hydrophobic. Meanwhile, their interior attracts water and other particles, making them suitable for breathing while keeping out other liquid materials that could be of health issues to the user.
Also, to increase the effectiveness of wools as PPE, they’re often treated with lanolin before being used in making masks. The purpose of the lanolin is to make the wool more water-resistant, increasing air permeability while giving it a slightly antibacterial capability. Hence, there’s little or no buildup of odor when used.
- Heavy Fabric Materials
Another major material used in making PPE is heavy fabric materials. Fabrics are particularly useful in manufacturing thick clothing that’s usually used as protective overalls. The ideal fabric should be one that’s water-resistant and not permeable to harmful chemicals.
Generally speaking, there are two types of fabric material: the fabric made of natural fiber from plants or animals and the synthetic or man-made fabric which is made by man using polyesters. The heavy nature and thickness of choice fabric material make them ideal when making PPE materials such as lab coat, ensemble, ballistic vest, and medical gown.
3. Leather Materials
Aside from having a face mask, wearing suitable clothing, and using protective goggles, one will require wearing adequate footwear that won’t easily be worn out and has the ability to withstand harsh conditions without compromising the body of anyone using them.
Leather materials are the usual material of choice that fits perfectly into this category. They’re usually obtained from animal skins and are made to go through processes that make them strong. They’re water-resistant and they don’t wear out easily. This makes them the ideal material for making footwear materials in most PPE, especially safety boots.
Leathers are also used in making gloves, which is helpful when the condition of work requires the protection of hands against physical harm. All this makes leather one of the many types of materials used for making PPE.
- Rubber Materials
Rubber is another major material popularly used in making PPE. They’re naturally elastic, making them suitable for use in activities involving a lot of movement. They can either be made naturally from plants or synthetically in the lab. Rubber is ideal for people who need PPE due to chemical works. This is because the material is known to be resistant to most chemicals harmful to health.
The most popular use of rubber as a PPE material is rubber gloves, which can be made naturally without adding any other material (pure rubber). Nonetheless, a fabric material may be added for support and increased breathability.
- Disposable Suits
Disposable suits, as the name implies, are materials expected to be discarded upon use. This material covers a wide range of PPE materials which are generally worn over clothing to protect the wearers’ skin from dirt and physical contamination. The nature of this suit is they’re worn to cover every part of the body, including the head, hands, and feet.
Materials used to make PPE includes polypropylene, Tychem, or Tyvek. The nature of the work environment will determine what the disposable PPE is made of. Some disposable suits are also augmented to be waterproof and to have antimicrobial properties, making them durable.
There are different types of materials that can be used in making PPEs, depending on the nature of work and the potential source of contaminations and environmental hazards that can bring harm. This is why adequate knowledge of the environment must be taken into account in determining the perfect type of material to be used. But as always, utilize these appropriately to maximize the security it brings. Consider the ideas mentioned here as you choose the best materials for protective equipment production.