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November 18, 2015

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Respirator technology under development

Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has announced that it is making a respirator concept available for license under the Easy Access IP scheme.

Dstl explain that respirators protect the wearer from breathing in dangerous substances such as harmful gases or fumes, but the protective performance of a traditional respirator relies on the respirator forming a good seal to the user’s face, which can only be confirmed by a fit test. They add that full-face respirators can be heavy to carry and helmets must be taken off before a respirator can be put on.

Originally developed as a future concept by scientists at Dstl and with industry partner Frazer-Nash, a new lightweight, expedient respirator concept is available for further development through the Easy Access IP scheme, say Dstl.

According to Dstl, this new respirator concept can be stored at the helmet or neck, making it easier to carry and allowing it to be put on quickly without taking off the helmet. When worn it fully encloses the user’s head, so that individual fit testing and being clean shaven is not required to optimise protection, they add.

Mark Summers, Technical Lead for Respiratory Protection, Dstl says: “This respirator technology was developed under a future military respirator programme, but it could be applied to civilian applications. For example by the emergency services, including law enforcement agencies for public order situations or for the protection of people who work with hazardous substances. The technology is innovative but at a conceptual stage and we hope that through the Easy Access IP scheme it will be developed further.”

Phil Mutton, Frazer-Nash project manager for the Expedient Respirator project, adds: “Working closely with Dstl, the concept we’ve jointly developed has the potential to make a real difference to those who work in hazardous environments. The project demonstrates how Dstl and its industry partners use innovation and creativity to address challenges in the defence and security fields.”

Dstl is an Easy Access IP organisation. Easy Access institutions promote new ways of sharing intellectual property (IP) to make it easier for researchers and industry to work together.

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