Thermo-physical evaluation of firefighter outer garment in high flux environments

Rumeel Bhutta, S Choi

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Abstract

Thermal protective performance tests have been conducted and improved over the years to assess the safety provided by firefighters’ outer thermal garments. Existing evaluation criteria based on empirical relations require an iterative process to estimate skin burn injuries. In this work, the concept of critical time – maximum exposure time before physical failure, is proposed, and utilized to abate this iterative process. The critical time relation to the fabric performance is investigated at an incident heat flux of 41, 84 and 126 kW/m2. Furthermore, parametric studies are performed to characterize the fabric thermo-physical behavior and associated burn degree. The tested specimens consist of an outer shell, a moisture barrier and a thermal liner. The methodology of visual assessment as per ISO 6942 is implemented to approximate the critical time. The critical time relation to increasing incident heat flux displayed a nonlinear performance reduction in the garment. An increase in the second degree burn time was observed for a vertically oriented bench-scale test. The firefighter’s current outer garment failed at a high flux of 126 kW/m2. The concept of relating the critical time to cumulative incident flux will aid the education of firefighters on fluctuating fire environments. This research opens a new domain to analyse the protective garments utilising the critical time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalTextile Research Journal
Early online date11 Mar 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Mar 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 was funded by the National Fire Agency through the R&D programme on Development of Fire Safety Technologies for Emergency Response to Fire Hazards (no. 20008021).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.

Keywords

  • FR fabrics
  • high performance fabrics
  • materials
  • performance
  • protective and other high performance clothing systems
  • testing

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