Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Earth and Environmental Sciences


Chemistry and Biochemistry

First Reader/Committee Chair

Dr. Robert Phalen


Gloves are an important aspect of personal protective equipment. They protect workers from chemical hazards as well as reduce the risk of exposure to infectious material. Chemical resistant gloves are made from a variety of polymer materials such as plastic, rubber, and synthetic rubber, as not one material provides protection against all chemicals. One type of polymer material may adequately protect against a specific chemical, but may not adequately protect against another. Experiments, such as degradation tests, are used to determine which material is most effective for each chemical tested. Current methods of degradation ratings are based on weight change, which can be expensive. The method described in this study provides an inexpensive alternative to gravimetric analysis. This method uses surface area change as a way to determine the degradation of a polymer material. The percent change data were compared between the weight change and the surface area change. The regression line given was Y=0.4841x + 0.0187 and the R2 value was 0.9096. There is a strong correlation (Pearson r = 0.9519; p ≤ 0.05) between percent weight change and percent surface area change. The Change for surface area is about half that of the weight change, which indicates that the surface area method is more sensitive than the gravimetric determination. Using this information, a rating system was developed for determining the degradation of gloves using surface area.