Laura Munevar-Ortiz

Doctor of Philosophy (Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Human Ecology & Chemical and Materials Engineering)

Supervisors: Dr. Patricia Dolez & Dr. John Nychka

Thesis Title: Aging of moisture barriers used in firefighter’s protective clothing

The purpose of my research is to gain a better understanding of the effect of conditions encountered during typical use on the performance of moisture barriers used in fire protective clothing over time. I will evaluate the effect of the different types of aging conditions (thermal, abrasion, laundering, UV radiation, moisture, and the combination of these) in two different types of polymer membranes used commonly in moisture barriers: Woven fabric laminated to a microporous PTFE membrane, Nonwoven fabric laminated to microporous PTFE membrane, and Woven fabric laminated to microporous PTFE coated with polyurethane. Then, an analysis will be conducted on the change in the molecular (polymer) structure, the microscopic (surface) characteristics, and macroscopic properties (tear strength and water vapour difussion) induced by the different aging conditions. Finally, I will develop strategies to predict the residual performance of protective clothing so that workers know when to retire their clothing or have the moisture barrier replaced, for instance based on life expectancy predictive models.

Publications or other research contributions:

Asad, A., Chen, J., & Munevar-Ortiz, L (2020). The Fabrication of Membrane Technology and its applications. On the October SMART Talk at the Smart Networking, online.

Munevar-Ortiz, L., & Dolez, P (2020). Effect of Specimen Size on The Trapezoidal Tear Strength Procedure. The Institute of Textile Science Scientific Session, Edmonton, Canada.

Munevar-Ortiz, L., & Dolez, P (2019). Evaluation of tear strength in post-use firefighters’ protective clothing over time. ALES Symposium Poster Presentation, Edmonton, Canada.

Munevar-Ortiz, L., & Dolez, P (2019). Evolution of residual performance of firefighters’ protective clothing over time. AHEA Conference 2019: Power of Embracing Our Niche, Red Deer, Canada.