CHEMICAL RESISTANCE FACT SHEET
Why Polyurethane and Not Something Else
The secret to TOP DOG success when dealing with the challenge of chemicals is the refusal to use anything but polyurethane (PU) in its premium line of protective garments. When compared to other materials, fabrics, or films used in similar applications, PU delivers much better protection against a wider range of chemicals than products made from vinyl, polyolefin, or polyethylene. This is because of the chemistry make-up of the products. All of these cost less than PU which is why so many try these products first. Polyolefin is more resistant to some of the alcohols and some solvents that can sometimes damage PU. But they have very little strength and are more stiff and heavier as compared to PU. Products made from vinyl, polyolefin, or polyethylene do very poorly with the most common cleaning chemical in the food processing business, sodium hydroxide, whereas PU is outstanding when used with this chemical. This is why PU is the number one best reason to use it in food processing facilities.
Balance Between Thickness and Hardness
Another TOP DOG secret to chemical resistance is getting the right balance between thickness, hardness, and softness. TOP DOG PU garments are manufactured using the highest quality PU film with a durometer hardness rating of 82A. This delivers the soft and suppleness required for human garments but delivers great strength together with outstanding abrasion and chemical resistance that you can count on to keep people safe!
Temperature and Concentration
Independent laboratory comparative tests typically involve a 30-day, total 100% immersion test in the chemical to establish a consistent baseline for comparison between all materials, fabrics, and PU film being tested. Each product will react differently to each chemical. This reaction is dependent upon several items, such as what the product is made from, product thickness, the temperature of the chemical, the level of concentration, and the interaction of other chemicals if there is more than one chemical being exposed to the product at the same time. Independent laboratory tests are typically conducted with the chemical at 20°C to establish a consistent baseline for comparison. Higher or lower temperatures of the chemicals will cause reactions to sometimes be different. Chemistry is complicated. This is why PU is the correct choice because it handles very well the complex challenges of chemistry.
Splash Protection is an Extremely Important Factor to Remember with Safety in the Workplace
Splash Protection or Immersion
From a practical standpoint, humans are not exposed to a total immersion of chemicals in the workplace. What is more relevant and important to an employee is the need for continuous good splash protection. The volume of chemicals and the frequency of the splashing are very important factors that must be considered. Therefore, it is important to recognize that if a TOP DOG product rates as “Fair” or “Not Recommended” with a particular chemical, the test was done in as 100% immersion for 30-day. In reality, the workplace application is not in a total immersion scenario. The product will very likely still provide satisfactory splash protection for a reasonable amount of time. One such example is acetic acid over 5% concentration where some discoloration and swelling of the PU film is likely but the film will not fail to provide protection. Another example is nitric acid which is NOT recommended with PU. However, when the PU is exposed to the nitric acid, there is severe swelling of the PU film and discoloration but no other failure in the PU film. The longer that the chemical stays on the PU, the more will be the discoloration and swelling. However, the employee is well protected in a splash protection application. Some discoloration and swelling of the PU film is not proof of failure to provide good splash protection. It might not look so pretty, but it may very well be doing its job because PU is a superior choice for protection.
If a TOP DOG product is rated as "E=Excellent" with a particular chemical, then the user can expect to have no swelling of the PU film, no discoloration, and no cracking from continuous 100% immersion in the chemical. This is true for a very wide range of concentration levels of the chemicals if TOP DOG rates it as "E" for excellent. A rating of "F=Fair" indicates that there will be some swelling and some loss of PU properties (but not failure). A rating of "N=Not Recommended" indicates that there will be significant loss of properties and significant swelling (but not immediate failure).
Failure of PU with Some Chemicals
Yes, PU is very, very good against a vast number of chemicals as compared to other materials, fabrics, and films. However, PU will fail (meaning the film will dissolve and fall apart) with some chemicals even with very low levels of concentration. Some chemicals are simply more dangerous than others, even in small levels of concentration. There will only be a small number of situations where PU will fail like this because it is not perfect against all chemicals. The reality is, however, that it is very uncommon to find dangerous chemicals in the workplace with more than 5% or 10% level of concentration. Pure muriatic acid is very nasty. In TOP DOG tests in total 100% immersion, the PU film took 15 days to fall apart. However, it gave good splash protection for several months.
"When in Doubt" Recommendation
Even if the TOP DOG chemical resistance chart states "F" or "N", it will be important to ask the end user of the TOP DOG garments to make both an immersion test and a splash test by using the TOP DOG mini aprons with the chemical. Given all of the variables involved, this is the only way to 100% prove what will happen. When all situations are different, the smart buyers choose PU as their first choice.
For special circumstances
TOP DOG’s manufacturer’s independent laboratory testing center will conduct tests if chemical resistance data is not presently available. Distributors are asked to provide TOP DOG with the chemical manufacturer’s MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) which will correctly identify the active ingredients in the chemical and the exact dilution level. With this accurate data, tests can be then arranged with TOP DOG’s manufacturer’s independent laboratory testing center.
Save Big with Durability and Get Superior Protection
TOP DOG’s PU garments can be counted on to provide superior protection against most common chemicals found in the workplace! This claim cannot be made by other manufacturers of protective garments and still offer strength and longevity with softness and be lightweight.
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