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

Steve Guffey

Committee Member

Feng Yang

Committee Member

Anna Allen

Committee Member

Ziqing Zhuang


Healthcare workers (HCWs) are the first responders when infectious pathogens occur. Powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs) are one of the most widely used personal protective equipment for healthcare workers. Currently, few studies have been performed with HCWs in the actual healthcare work environments to assess discomforts, acceptance and protective efficiency towards wearing and use of PAPRs. The main purpose of this dissertation was to introduce and assess a brand new unconventional PAPR (Koken breath-response PAPR). The protection performance and user preferance of this unconventional PAPR were studided and compared to that of a N95 FFR and traditional PAPRs.

Firstly, a laboratory experiment was conducted to test the performance of the unconventional breath-response respirator (Koken PAPR) during different breathing flow types and rates, faceseal leakages, and motor conditions (fan on or fan off). The results indicated that this PAPR worked effectively to protect the wearer regardless of the leakage size with the fan on (protection factor, PF > 52). However, as the flow rate was increased above 115 L/min (both constant and cyclic), even with fan on, this PAPR didn’t provide enough protection to its user (PFleakage).

Then, the second study (Study II) was conducted to evaluate the user perception and acceptance about this unconventional PAPR with compared to a N95 filtering facepiece respirator (FFR). The results showed that subjects preferred the unconventional PAPR over N95 FFR in overall assessment due to less heat and humidity when performing the designed twelve tasks.

Finally, Study III was conducted to evaluate HCWs’ comfort, perceived protective efficiency and preference about this unconventional PAPR comparing to three traditional PAPR models in a simulated work environment. The results indicated that this unconventional PAPR had the least general comfort, most inspiratory/expiratory effort and overall breathing.