Volume 2, Issue 2 (February 2005)
Novel Approach to Soldier Flame Protection
The U.S. Army desires low cost combat uniform fabrics that provide flame protection, visual and near infrared camouflage, comfort, and durability. Prior to material development, the flame threat and hazard was investigated and characterized. Flammability related test methods were reviewed and pass/fail criteria for instrumented manikin testing was established based on military medical doctrine. Various fibers, fiber blends, and functional finishes were investigated and novel blend materials were developed. Textile manufacturing methods not traditionally used in military protective clothing such as core-spun yarn spinning and direct fiber-to-fabric non-woven technologies were also investigated. When compared to the standard issue combat uniform, the best performing protective clothing configuration demonstrated a reduction in total body burn from 88% to 8%. Safe exposure limits of up to 5 s were established.