We're developing cool respirator masks with unique filter media technology that are highly effective and comfortable to wear. The proprietary 3M™ Cool Flow™ Valve is designed to release your hot, humid exhaled breath quickly, helping to prevent an unpleasant build-up of heat inside the facepiece - a significant cause of discomfort to respirator wearers.
3M develops cool respirator with your comfort in mind.
Until now the usual way for wearers or specifiers to determine how hot a respirator feels on the face (one of the key aspects of wearer comfort) has been to buy and wear it.
By devising a test that can accurately capture temperature data, 3M is now enabling you to make a quick, educated choice ahead of purchase. This test measures the temperature inside the respirator to simulate user experience.
The test, developed internally by 3M, is performed using a breathing machine. With sophisticated sensors, it tracks the temperature in the space between a respirator and a mannequin head specifically adapted to mimic human breathing (by supplying humidified warm air similar to exhaled breath in temperature and humidity).
The test protocol, data generation, and conclusions were reviewed and approved by an expert from the University of Minnesota.
Chart 1: Results of tests for temperature inside 3M valved and unvalved respirators.
Chart 2: The internal temperature test results of Cool Flow valved respirators and competitive valved respirators.
Chart 3: Measurements of pressure drop (breathing resistance) at 85 lpm.
The lower the breathing resistance, the easier it is for the user to inhale and exhale, which should contribute to greater comfort.
* Individual 95% CI for Mean, Based on Pooled Std Dev; Flowrate at 85 liters per minute.
** Statistically different per two sample T-Test and 95% Confidence Interval (both use pooled standard deviation).
Testing protocol, data generation and conclusions were reviewed and approved by an expert from The University of Minnesota. The testing performed by 3M is not a part of the testing and certification conducted by NIOSH.
The colors in the thermal images below show the change in surface temperature of the respirators as the model inhales and exhales.
Inhalation is the cooler part of the cycle; with both valved and unvalved respirators, the 3M filter media facilitates an easy draw of cooler external air.
As the wearer inhales, air is pulled through the respirator and surface temperature decreases. The valve's plastic cover, because of the material composition, retains some of the heat.
Exhalation: As the wearer exhales the respirator is filled with warm, moist air. The cooler thermal imaging shades of the picture on the right indicate how the respirator fitted with the Cool Flow valve expels the breath, together with its natural heat, more rapidly.
As the hot exhaled air exits through the valve, the rest of the respirator remains cooler and more comfortable.
This benefit is ideal for long periods of wear, especially where conditions are hot and humid or when work is physically demanding and likely to cause heavy breathing.
3M has a wide range of NIOSH 42 CFR 84 approved filtering facepiece respirators, both unvalved and valved.