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

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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 test system was aimed to be used to examine the behaviour of emergency-responder garments and subsequently to find weaknesses of turnout gears at critical thermal conditions greater than a standard 84-kW/m2-intensity, thereby contributing to improving the survival chance of firefighters who could be requested to execute an emergency evacuation from an unexpected growth of 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 s) 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. The heating system and software were validated in respect of the heating consistency, vertical intensity variation, intensity-rise rate and discrepancies between the existing and present models. It was proved that the heating system is capable of increasing its heat emission up to 126 kW/m2 within 1.5 s, maintaining the intensity-level with less than 9-kW/m2-change for 12 s, and distributing the intensity-level with less than 11-kW/m2-variation along the vertical direction, from 45-cm- to 155-cm-height. The development process can contribute to the ability to develop a large-scale test facility to test specimens under a critical thermal exposure condition for research purposes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-551
Number of pages17
JournalMeasurement and Control
Issue number5-6
Early online date9 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished online - 9 Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This project is funded by NFA(National Fire Agency) and KEIT(Korea Evaluation Institute of Industrial Technology) through R&D programmes on Development of Fire Safety Technologies for ESS and Hydrogen Facilities (No.20011579) and for Emergency Response to Fire Hazards (No.20008021).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


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


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