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

S Choi, Sungwook Kang, Minjae Kwon, Joungyoon Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study discusses the development process of a full-scale test facility composed of a high-performance radiant heating system, a life-sized instrumented thermal manikin system with sensing assemblies, associated equipment, and in-house software controlling the entire system. This facility was developed to examine the thermal protective performance of emergency-responder garments and their behaviours at critical thermal conditions greater than a standard 84-kW/m²-intensity, thereby contributing to improving the survival chance of firefighters being unexpectedly attacked by modern fires. To impose a target 126-kW/m²-irradiance throughout the garment-dressed manikin’s exposed surface for a limited period of time (12 seconds) as uniformly, consistently, stably, and safely as possible, several technical aspects were considered: the amounts of heat-source power and electric power-supply; areas of heating and receiving and their geometrical relationship; a practical percentage of the maximum heater-capability; efficiencies of electric power-supply and water-cooling; movable equipment; and safety equipment. Two analytical models were encoded using a finite difference method in the LabVIEW platform to determine a burn injury distribution throughout the manikin-shell in association with the measurement data from the test system. For validation of the system and software, stability of heating, vertical intensity-variation, an intensity-rise rate, and the discrepancy between the existing model and present model were examined. This results in regulating the facility performances to investigate garments’ behaviours. The development process can contribute to the ability to develop a full-scale test facility for any specimens that require a critical thermal exposure condition.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalMeasurement and Control
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 14 Oct 2021

Keywords

  • Full-scale apparatus
  • thermal protective clothing
  • thermal manikin
  • critical thermal condition
  • burn injury

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