Development of testing environment for thermal protective clothing at critical conditions

Sungwook Kang, Minjae Kwon, J.Yoon Choi, S Choi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


This project examines the thermal protective performance of firefighters’ garment. Although this research topic has been rigorously studied to secure the safety of wearers, little information exists on the clothing’s behaviour at ‘recent’ environments created by compartment fires beyond the flashover state; the critical conditions become more severe due to increases in use of synthetic materials in furnishings and construction. As part of the project, this paper discusses particularly (i) the quantification of the current critical fire hazards; (ii) a sequential development of apparatuses capable of generating the heat flux defined, from bench-scale to human adult-scale; and (iii) the establishment of a measurement system incorporating a skin simulant. To represent the up-to-date severity of fires, the upper bound (126 kW/m²) of the conventional range of flashfires is employed rather than the standard (84 kW/m²), as the worst case scenario for fire attack teams. Heaters are systematically advanced and calibrated with respect to the ability to emit, spatial uniformity of irradiance, and its temporal consistency. A measurement plan for testing is established in association with the actual physical damage to wearers (i.e. superficial 2nd degree burn injury). A skin simulant which exhibits thermo-physical characteristics similar to those of human tissues is also developed to make a sensor which intends to accurately predict burn injuries and thus assess the performance of garments. This work tends to create an advanced testing environment for thermal protective clothing, and therefore will contribute (i) to the full understanding of the garments’ behaviours under critical conditions, (ii) to the improvement of the potential shieldlike barrier’s protective performance, and thereby (iii) to the security of the health and life of firefighters, in due course.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Proceedings of 11th Asia-Oceania Symposium on Fire Science and Technology
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-32-9139-3
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 22 Oct 2018
Event11th Asia-Oceania Symposium on Fire Science and Technology - taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China
Duration: 22 Oct 201824 Oct 2018


Conference11th Asia-Oceania Symposium on Fire Science and Technology
Country/TerritoryTaiwan, Republic of China


  • Thermal protective clothing
  • Critical fire hazard
  • Radiant heater
  • Skin simulant


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