The University of Hertfordshire, in partnership with Ansell Ltd., are seeking a highly motivated PhD student to undertake a three year project to further develop and validate the use of an animated mannequin comprising integral chemical sensor array to establish next generation technologies for evaluating whole-body protective suits. This unique, multidisciplinary project will include aspects of toxicology, electrical engineering, computational mathematics and chemical analysis.
Current strategies for evaluating personal protective equipment (PPE) adhere to well established, standardised test regimes. For example, swatches of PPE material can be evaluated in isolation by measuring the breakthrough times of toxic chemicals. More realistic testing requires the evaluation of whole suits when worn by volunteers (wearing passive chemical dosimeters) whilst undertaking physical tasks in a contaminated environment. Such exposures are necessarily limited to relatively non-toxic chemical contaminants. Moreover, the use of passive dosimeters precludes a temporal resolution of suit performance.
The aim of this project is to further develop an animated mannequin equipped with real-time chemical sensors to enable the assessment of protective ensembles against a wide range of toxic chemicals. This is a substantial, multidisciplinary project that will provide a unique and broad training opportunity for the successful candidate. The project aims to contribute towards the understanding of PPE testing and provide scientific evidence to support the development of new and effective PPE.