ASTM F739 method for testing the permeation resistance of protective clothing materials: critical analysis with proposed changes in procedure and test-cell design

Am Ind Hyg Assoc J. 1998 Aug;59(8):547-56. doi: 10.1080/15428119891010721.


ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) Method F739-96 specifies a test-cell design and procedures for measuring the permeation resistance of chemical protective clothing. Among the specifications are open-loop collection stream flow rates of 0.050 to 0.150 L/min for a gaseous medium. At elevated temperatures the test must be maintained within 1 degree C of the set point. This article presents a critical analysis of the effect of the collection stream flow rate on the measured permeation rate and on the temperature uniformity within the test cell. Permeation tests were conducted on four polymeric glove materials with 44 solvents at 25 degrees C. Flow rates > 0.5 L/min were necessary to obtain accurate steady-state permeation rate (SSPR) values in 25 percent of the tests. At the lower flow rates the true SSPR typically was underestimated by a factor of two or less, but errors of up to 33-fold were observed. No clear relationship could be established between the need for a higher collection stream flow rate and either the vapor pressure or the permeation rate of the solvent, but test results suggest that poor mixing within the collection chamber was a contributing factor. Temperature gradients between the challenge and collection chambers and between the bottom and the top of the collection chamber increased with the water-bath temperature and the collection stream flow rate. Use of a test cell modified to permit deeper submersion reduced the gradients to < or = 0.5 degrees C. It is recommended that all SSPR measurements include verification of the adequacy of the collection stream flow rate. For testing at nonambient temperatures, the modified test cell described here could be used to ensure temperature uniformity throughout the cell.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Gloves, Protective* / standards
  • Humans
  • Materials Testing* / methods
  • Occupational Health*
  • Permeability
  • Solvents


  • Solvents