All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Daneesh Simien

Advisory Committee Members

Ilias Kavouras

Cladiu Lungu

Phil Demokritou

Robin Foley

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Engineering


The current growth rate of nanomaterials being used in everyday materials as well as in construction materials is quite large. While this in itself could be quite promising, there is a lack of information known about the risks that materials in the nano size range may have attached to their use. Until a full-scale risk analysis of the nanomaterials is used in the construction industry there is a need for personal protection to be implemented. A known issue with the current PPE exists, in that the N95 personal respirator has some particle collection efficiency issues below 300 nm. Modifications to increase the particle collection efficiency of the N95 below 300 nm is the subject of this research. Before modifications were to occur, chemical and morphological properties of paints containing TiO2 during end-of-life procedures were determined, to fully understand the likelihood of worker exposure to particles under 300 nm. General testing as well as a one-year weathering study were undertaken to create an understanding of short- and long-term effects on the possibility of nano-sized particles being generated during the end-of-life procedures as well as the possibility of the generated particles being TiO2 in whole or in part. This was determined by collecting data on the size of particles generated, and the number of particles generated within size ranges. Upon determination that there was a real concern, the plan for modification of the N95 moved forward. Three different filters were examined and tested during the study, to determine the best pairing of current filters and additions. The filter types that were focused on are the ones commonly found in laboratory air sampling due to these being created to collect low end PM. The addition of cellulose acetate or PTFE filters was determined to help solve the current N95 respirator’s issues with particles under 300 nm.

Included in

Engineering Commons



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