Development of a bench-scale apparatus to assess thermal protective performance of garments under highly intensive heat-flux exposures

S Choi, Sungwook Kang, Rumeel Bhutta, Minjae Kwon, Joungyoon Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Thermal protective clothing protects emergency responders from fire hazards. The thermal protective performance of the multi-layer fabric is standardly evaluated at the average value of a 1-3-cal/(cm²s)-intensity range. Considering the magnitude of modern fire events, the range’s upper limit (3 cal/(cm²s)) was proposed to take into account a critical radiation condition and a bench-scale apparatus, capable of creating the critical experimental environment, was developed in this study. This instrument includes a vertical configuration heater with an active water-cooling part, a vertical orientation specimen-assembly with a measuring part, a movable specimen-holder and thermal shields operated by pneumatic pumps, an exhaust hood connected to a pan, a data acquisition system, heating-power and mechanical equipment controllers, and a computer with in-house burn-injury analysis software. A preliminary test was conducted to determine a specimen-assembly position that both optimised the heat-source power, heater-capability and apparatus-sustainability, and subsequently validated the uniformity and consistency of irradiance on the test sample. To conduct repeatable measurements, an in-house program was used to operate the heater, specimen assembly and thermal shields semi-automatically, in a sequence. The software includes an algorithm that allows one to analyse heat transfers across human-skin layers and to assess the degree of burn injuries. This paper outlines a comprehensive process of creating an experimental environment for samples that need to be exposed to a critical thermal condition.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalMeasurement and Control
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 3 Nov 2021


  • Bench-scale apparatus
  • thermal protective fabrics
  • firefighter
  • critical thermal condition
  • testing system


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