Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Earth and Environmental Sciences


Geography and Environmental Studies

First Reader/Committee Chair

Dr. Robert Phalen



Current glove guides attempt to assist in recommending which type of glove is appropriate for handling chemicals; however, they include information on less than 1% of the 89 million chemical products available today.

This study offers a solution by testing five durable polymer materials against 50 chemicals, using two rapid chemical degradation assessment techniques. The first technique involves gravimetric analysis of the weight change following constant immersion against the chemical mixture. The second method uses tensile strength to assess molecular changes in the polymer structure.

This study is focused on addressing three issues of concern. First, this study examines if current degradation testing methods are adequate to determine chemical resistance against complex mixtures. Secondly, this study will be used to determine if current degradation information on pure chemicals is effective in predicting degradation of complex chemical mixtures, based on the major ingredient(s). Lastly, this study will start a chemical resistance index for complex mixed chemicals.

The results of this study clearly show that glove recommendations of pure and mixed chemicals are frequently different. In more than 58.4% of the cases, the mixed chemical requires a different glove than that of its pure chemical components. Results also show that glove recommendations based solely on weight change and/or permeation results are missing important information on tensile test performance. There are several instances (15.2%) in which the initial glove recommendation would be changed to a lower recommendation rating if the results of a tensile test were included.