The proprietary 3M™ Cool Flow™ valve is designed to release your hot, humid exhaled breath quickly, helping to prevent an unpleasant build up of heat inside the facepiece - a significant cause of discomfort to respirator wearers.
Video - 3M™ Disposable Respirator Cool Flow™ Valve
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3M develops respirators with your comfort in mind. But it doesn't
Until now the usual way for wearers or specifiers to determine how hot
a respirator feels on the face (one of the key aspects of wearer
comfort)has been to buy and wear it.
By devising a test that can accurately capture temperature data,
3M is now enabling you to make a quick, educated choice ahead
of purchase. This test measures the temperature inside the respirator
to simulate user experience.
The test, developed internally by 3M, is performed using a breathing
machine. With sophisticated sensors, it tracks the temperature in the
space between a respirator and a mannequin head specifically adapted to
mimic human breathing (by supplying humidified warm air similar to exhaled breath in temperature and humidity).
The test protocol, data generation, and conclusions were reviewed and approved by an expert from the University of Minnesota.
Chart 1: Results of tests for temperature inside 3M valved and unvalved respirators.
On average, the respirators with the Cool Flow valve were 7.5°F cooler inside the facepiece than the similar model without a valve**.
Chart 2: The internal temperature test results of Cool Flow valved respirators and competitive valved respirators.
The 3M™ Particulate Respirator 9211, N95, was cooler than all respirators tested**.
The 3M™ Particulate Respirator 8511, N95, and two competitive respirators (B and E) were similar in the internal temperature measured, but warmer than the 9211**.
Competitive respirators A, C and D were the warmest inside the facepiece**.
Chart 3: Measurements of pressure drop (breathing resistance) at 85 lpm.
The lower the breathing resistance, the easier it is for the user to inhale and exhale, which should contribute to greater comfort.
3M respirators (8510, 8511, 9210 and 9211) showed lower inhalation air flow resistance than that of competitive products.
A, B, C and D**.
3M valved respirators had lower exhalation air flow resistance than all of the competitive products**.
The unvalved 3M products (3M™ Particulate Respirator 8510, N95 and 3M™ Particulate Respirator 9210, N95) had lower exhalation breathing resistance than competitive valved products A and C**.
* Individual 95% CI for Mean, Based on Pooled Std Dev; Flowrate at 85 liters per minute.
** Statistically different per two sample T-Test and 95% Confidence Interval (both use pooled standard deviation).
Testing protocol, data generation and conclusions were reviewed and approved by an expert from The University of Minnesota.
The testing performed by 3M is not a part of the testing and certification conducted by NIOSH.
The colors in the thermal images below show the change in surface temperature of the respirators as the model inhales and exhales.
Inhalation is the cooler part of the cycle; with both valved and unvalved respirators, the 3M filter media facilitates an easy draw of cooler external air.
As the wearer inhales, air is pulled through the respirator and surface temperature decreases. The valve's plastic cover, because of the material composition, retains some of the heat.
Exhalation: As the wearer exhales the respirator is filled with warm, moist air. The cooler thermal imaging shades of the picture on the right indicate how the respirator fitted with the
Cool Flow valve expels the breath, together with its natural heat, more rapidly.
As the hot exhaled air exits through the valve, the rest of the respirator remains cooler and more comfortable.
This benefit is ideal for long periods of wear, especially where conditions are hot and humid or when work is physically demanding and likely to cause heavy breathing.