One application of barrier materials is chemical protective clothing. A variety of chemical protective clothing options are currently available, but many of the barrier materials combine good fluid resistance with high resistance to moisture vapor transport. This generates heat stress to the wearer. For certain applications it is desirable to find materials which are elastic, easy to process, and comfortable to use, while still having good fluid resistance. Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) represent a developing family of materials that may provide an answer to those requirements, but have not been thoroughly investigated for this application. In this work, commercially available thermoplastic elastomers and their blends were evaluated. Film samples were prepared by either extrusion or compression molding, and their barrier properties evaluated in terms of water vapor transmission, fluid vapor transmission, and fluid absorption. Films prepared from a polyester TPE showed the highest water vapor transport. Blends of the polyester TPE with more fluid resistant TPEs offered protection with enhanced water vapor transport. These results indicate that blends of TPEs can be tailored to offer fluid/vapor protection with significant improvements in water vapor transmission. For some fluids these materials offer even better protection, with enhanced water vapor transmission, than currently available materials.

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