A Philadelphia University-lead team recently completed work on two prototypes of protective suits for the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center in partnership with the Battelle Memorial Institute.
The one-piece over garment suit is part of an all-purpose-personal protective ensemble (AP-PPE), a state-of-the-art chemical-biological protective garment system developed for Special Operations forces to increase protection against chemical-biological threats and to improve operational suitability.
Besides the over garment suit, the AP-PPE ensemble features chemical-biological protective footwear and gloves. The components interface together and are compatible with existing operational gear.
Battelle Memorial Institute is a private, nonprofit applied science and technology development company that manages federal government laboratories and supports national security. Recognizing PhilaU’s work on Department of Defense-funded initiatives such as the Laboratory for Engineered Human Protection, Battelle invited performance apparel expert Mark Sunderland, textile engineer and Robert J. Reichlin High-Performance Apparel Chair, to provide his expertise and consultation.
Sunderland’s team manufactured and fabricated two prototypes of the AP-PPE over garment suit–one with a collar and one with a hood–and wrote and produced a detailed prospectus of operations and procedures (based on the prototypes) on the manufacture of the protective suit.
The PhilaU team was awarded the nearly $75,000 contract by Battelle in April 2016 and completed the work in mid-August. PhilaU textile materials technology student Devon Willard ’18 and Philadelphia-based Ricochet Manufacturing worked under Sunderland’s direction on this project.
“This work demonstrates our expertise and deep knowledge on high-functional technical apparel for the military,” Sunderland said. “The procedures and operations developed from the construction and assembly of the bio-chem suit will be used as the military standard for contractors and manufacturers.”