IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

Evaluating the performance of an N95 filter against ultrafine particles, including nanoparticles, with a cyclic airflow that simulates the breathing of workers


Nanoscale ultrafine particles (UFPs) are produced by various combustion processes (forest fires, heating, diesel exhaust, welding fumes, etc.) and the mechanical processing of materials. The industrial production and use of UFPs, including nanoparticles, appears to be increasing and several toxic effects have been documented. Although prevention measures aimed at eliminating UFPs at source should be favoured, in some circumstances the use of respiratory protective equipment is unavoidable.
This project aims to assess the efficacy of an N95 filter at capturing UFPs in experimental conditions similar to actual workplace conditions and by imitating the breathing of a human being.
In an earlier study, the research tem developed a procedure for measuring the efficacy of N95 filters under constant flow conditions. For this project, the scientists want to integrate a cyclical flow pump in order to determine the penetration rate of ultrafine particles as a function of particle size, cyclic aspiration, relative humidity and exposure time. A better understanding of the behaviour of protective equipment with respect to UFPs is a key issue due to the ongoing development of nanotechnology.

Additional Information

Type: Project
Number: 2011-0035
Status: Completed
Year of completion: 2015