It’s mid July and summer is almost half over and I am about two weeks late in writing my Lab Corner for the 3rd Quarter of 2010. The reason for they delay is that I have been waiting to hear more about the activities from the ASTM F23.30 Chemical resistance subcommittee meeting last month. I have yet to see any minutes posted on the ASTM F23 technical committee web page and was particularly interested in their discussion about selecting a new reference material instead of 16 mil neoprene. If you remember, I mentioned that supplies of this reference material are limited and that there were some questions about formulation differences that may cause some variation in performance data on breakthrough times and permeation rates using the F739 permeation test method. I did contact a committee member and he reported that there was only one item under consideration at the June F23. 30 committee meeting and some discussion about still using the standard 16 mil neoprene reference material and another stable reference material such as Mylar. Apparently, there still has been no decision yet and we are going to have to wait until F23 meets again in Baltimore, Maryland, February 1-3, 2011 at the Marriott Waterfront Hotel during ASTM’s committee week. I am planning to attend this meeting to participate in the discussion and share my thoughts about using another reference material.

Though the summer is usually slow, I have been responding to several inquiries about doing permeation testing both in the USA and abroad (China). Most of the questions pertain to selecting permeation equipment, setting up permeation test systems and analytical methods. There is a lot of information available on all of these topics by just typing the word “permeation” in to Google and doing a search. As I have mentioned before, both Rich Pesce and I are available to help you with technical questions and are willing to help you select appropriate test cells, equipment and analytical methods. Hopefully, once the ASTM F23.30 committee decides on a standard reference material we will be able to supply that too. Also, I continue to do permeation testing of clothing under contract in support of new chemicals being used and registered to meet REACH requirements in the European countries and satisfy EU (European Union ) regulations. For those of you who do not know what REACH stands for it is a new European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use (EC 1907/2006). It deals with the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemical substances. This new law went into force on June 1, 2007 and requires information on the properties of chemical substances and risks, as well as safety information for handling and protecting individuals from exposure. One of their requirements is to have recommendations for appropriate protective clothing such as gloves when handling and transporting new chemicals that may be potentially hazardous.

Well, that’s about all I have to report this quarter. I hope you all have a safe summer and enjoy your vacation wherever you go and whatever you do. Remember to dress safe, light and cool to protect from the sun and heat.

Norm Henry