G11: Understanding Engineered Nanoparticle Penetration Through Lab Coat Fabrics

Natalie Ireland Student Presenter
University of California Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA 
United States of America
Candace Tsai, ScD, CIH Student Moderator
University of California Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA 
Tue, 5/23: 11:15 AM - 12:15 PM PDT
Student Presentation 
Phoenix Convention Center 
Room: Nexus Lounge, North 227 B 


The commercial production of engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) is increasing as their unique properties are useful to improve many products. ENPs can pose a major health risk for workers through exposure routes such as inhalation and dermal contact. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as lab coats, are routinely worn by workers handling ENPs to protect themselves from dermal exposure or underclothes contamination. Research is lacking on the protective nature of lab coats when challenged with ENPs. This study investigated three different ENPs (CNT, CB, and Al2O3) representing both fiber and sphere morphologies, and hydrophobic and hydrophilic properties, and their ability to penetrate through four types of lab coat fabrics (cotton, polypropylene, polyester cotton, and Tyvek®). The fabrics represent both woven and non woven material with varying fiber size, porosity, and thickness. CNT nanoparticles penetrated all fabrics significantly less than the other ENPs due to their rod shape and their propensity to form agglomerates. They may bend when coming in contact with individuals fibers in the fabric. Tyvek® fabric was found to be the most protective against CB and Al2O3 nanoparticles, while polypropylene was the least protective. This is likely due to the fact that Tyvek is a non woven fabric with low porosity, and does not have much empty space for particles to pass through. Polypropylene is also non woven, however, the fabric does not have a consistent pattern throughout, causing higher penetration percentages.

Learning Outcomes

1. Identify the most protective lab coat fabric for use in engineered nanoparticle production facilities.
2. Determine the deposition mechanisms, such as Brownian motion, interception, or impaction of each ENP particle on fabric.
3. Describe the most likely type of particle deposition to occur for each of the four fabrics based on fabric characteristics such as porosity, fiber size, thickness, water vapor transmission rate, absorption rate, pore volume, and fabric uniformity.
4. Recall the differences in size, morphology, and physical properties between CNT nanoparticles, Al2O3 nanoparticles, and CB nanoparticles. 

Content Level


Organizational Category


Primary Industry

All Industries


Academic Track
Aerosols & Airborne Particulates
Protective Clothing and Equipment