A Fibertect® decontamination wipe having bleached cotton outer layers around a non-particulate
activated carbon center — developed by researchers at Texas Tech University (TTU), Lubbock, Texas —
has been demonstrated to surpass M-291 powdered decontaminant in its ability to clean up the
chemical surrogate to soman nerve gas.
Testing was conducted by co-investigator Utkarsh Sata, Ph.D., who found that the wipe also
adsorbs the soman vapors five times better than M-291, which currently is being used by the
Department of Defense (DoD) and is being phased out.
“This is an improved reiteration of Fibertect,” said Seshadri Ramkumar, Ph.D., project lead
investigator and inventor of the composite technology, has undergone several iterations since it
was first developed in 2004
Fabric Of The Month: Toxic Clean Up,”
TextileWorld.com, April 2004). “The cotton composite takes liquid up very
quickly and can adsorb vapors more efficiently than the powdered decontaminant,” he said, noting
that the purpose of the experiments was to evaluate the efficiency of the wipe’s vapor-holding
Ramkumar mentioned other advantages to the newest version of the wipe: “The idea was to use
as much biodegradable material as possible in the wipe. This is one major improvement.” He added
that the M-291 powder leaves a dirty residue on the surface of the object being decontaminated.
“The powdered form is very difficult to handle and to apply toward decontamination
purposes,” said Ron Kendall, Ph.D., also a project co-investigator, remarking on the ease of use of
the composite wipes, which can be used to clean both equipment surfaces and the skin, although no
testing using the soman surrogate has been conducted on human skin.
Other researchers include Eugene Wilusz, U.S. Army Natick Soldier RD&E Center, Natick,
Mass.; Steve Mlynarek, University of South Florida, Tampa, Fla.; and Gopal Coimbatore, TTU.
The project received partial funding from DoD; Cotton Incorporated, Cary, N.C.; the
International Cotton Research Center at TTU; Texas Department of Agriculture; Cotton Foundation,
Cordova, Tenn.; and The CH Foundation, Lubbock.
First Line Technology, Chantilly, Va., markets the Fibertect wipes, which have been approved
as a cost-effective decontamination wipe for U.S. Military and Department of Homeland Security
March 5, 2013