The objective: The objective of my project was to compare nonwoven medical gowns as barriers against UV radiation. The long-range application of my experiment would be to use the protective characteristics of medical gowns, in both UV and bacterial resistance, as a model for the design of new, UV-protective fabrics suitable for everyday clothing.
Seventeen nonwoven medical gown fabrics were tested for transmission and absorbance of UV radiation using a Spectronic 20+ spectrophotometer. Each sample, along with the control (an empty frame), was sandwiched between homemade frames and penetrated with UV radiation inside the testing chamber. The samples were also observed under a scanning electron microscope to determine surface characteristics of the samples.
The higher-ranking fabrics were composed of threads that allowed for a closer entanglement of fibers, such as the best performer, a 55/45 woodpulp/polyester mix. Fabrics with a looser weave and a larger area of holes ranked lower, such as the worst performer, a light 100% polyester fabric.
On average, when compared to other samples of the same composition, thicker and heavier fabrics performed better than the lighter and thinner types. However, the most significant factor in determining the rank of all tested samples was the area of air spaces. Larger holes permitted more UV radiation to pass through, which resulted in lower performance.
The project determined Nonwoven medical fabrics with closer weaves perform better at blocking UV radiation because the porosity, which permits transmission of UV rays, is less.
Science Fair Project done By Ashley N. Muirheid