Investigation of textile resistance to puncture by micro-penetrators with geometry of mosquito proboscis
Luan, Victoria Pu-Liang
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Vector-borne disease infection rates are increasing due to larger populations of mosquitos surviving in warmer climates caused by climate change. This is a particular threat for U.S. soldiers deployed overseas in semitropical/tropical regions because it can result in lost manpower days, decreased unit morale, and increased medical costs. Current insect-resistant garments are embedded with short-lived insecticides or have stiff weave patterns to deter biting, which can make these garments chemically harmful or physically uncomfortable to the wearer. Currently, there exists standardized test methods for mechanical puncture by large-diameter penetrators such as knives and needles, but there are no standardized tests for micro-penetrators (i.e. mosquito proboscis). This study developed an enhanced micro-penetrator puncture test (micro-PPT), which is a quasi-static puncture technique that quickly measures the puncture resistance of fabrics to micro-penetrators similar to mosquitos. This research investigated the enhanced micro-PPT by (a) validating an improved design of the simulated proboscis, (b) improving the puncture test method, (c) examining the effect of the simulated proboscis effective length on the critical buckling load, and (d) conducting a sample size sensitivity analysis. The enhanced micro-PPT was to be conducted on five fabrics and the results were to be compared with an enhanced live-mosquito blood-feed (LMBF) test recently developed at the University of Notre Dame (UND) for the same five fabrics. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these results could not be obtained. Results of this research suggests that the development of a new simulated proboscis design improved control of the penetrator geometry during puncture compared to the previous micro-PPT design. Measurements of the fabricated simulated proboscis showed that the critical buckling load, Pcr, varied only by 2.1% and the penetrator-to-fabric angle during insertion, θpsf was 90°± 0.14°. Furthermore, fabrication of the enhanced simulated proboscis fabrication method was 60% faster than previous methods. This study proposes an effective test method that has potential to rapidly test for insect bite resistance of fabrics used in high-volume production of PPE, utility uniforms, and activewear.