Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Industrial and Managements Systems Engineering

Committee Chair

Xinjian He

Committee Member

Eun Gyung Lee

Committee Member

Gary Winn


The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is the organization in charge of approving respiratory devices in the United States, as permitted by 42 CFR Part 84. Standards that NIOSH uses to certify powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs) are based on respiratory data collected before the 21st century. With new technologies, it is possible to gain a more accurate understanding of breathing flow of healthcare workers (HCWs). A new portable breathing flow recording device developed by The S.E.A. Group was intended for use with a Sundström SR100 mask with a P100 filter. This study tests the device with a North 7700 mask with a P100 filter as well to evaluate the device’s consistency of measurement among other types of elastomeric half-mask respirators (EHMRs). The respirators are first calibrated for use with the device, then each is exposed to four different measurement conditions. Each condition is tested at varying flow rates from 5 liters per minute to 75 liters per minute. The results are analyzed using a two-sided hypothesis test of difference in independent population means, with a null hypothesis (H0) being: H0 = μ1 – μ2 = 0. A two-tailed t-test is performed, assuming equal variances. The results show that the hypothesis is accepted (p > 0.05), therefore the results obtained by the device are not significantly different. These results suggest the device can potentially be used to measure the breathing flow rate of HCWs using various types of EHMRs. With the consistency and reliability of new devices in measuring breathing flow of HCWs in a real-time work environment, new data can be gathered to supplant the outdated information used to shape current NIOSH respirator certification standards.