Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Industrial and Managements Systems Engineering

Committee Chair

Xinjian He

Committee Co-Chair

Anna Allen

Committee Member

Steven Guffey


Powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs) are protective devices commonly utilized by healthcare workers in environments with infectious airborne diseases. A review of the current PAPR literature indicated a shortage of studies that focus on user experience of PAPRs and the types of PAPRs that healthcare workers prefer. This study focused on three different PAPR models: the MAXAIR CAPR RTM 710, the 3M(TM) Versaflo (TM) TR-600-ECK and the 3M(TM) Air-Mate(TM). A typical hospital patient work environment was simulated at the West Virginia Simulation Training and Education for Patient Safety on West Virginia University's Health Sciences Campus. Eight subjects total were recruited and asked to perform various tasks in the simulated patient room while wearing the different respirators. Data was collected via a survey which compiled information on 16 different evaluation categories, vitals and preferences and acceptability of the different PAPRs under various risk and air flow conditions. Results yielded 5 statistically significant evaluation categories (p<0.05) which were "general comfort", "overall breathing discomfort", "clear line of vision", "mechanical interference with duties" and "the number of hours a subject was willing to wear the PAPR". In these 5 categories, the MAXAIR typically performed the best and the Versaflo typically performed the worst. The results indicate a large gap between the MAXAIR and the Versaflo. The MAXAIR was perceived as generally more comfortable, less cumbersome and more effective than the Versaflo. This may indicate an issue in design in the Versaflo, which could be further analyzed with additional studies.