Volume 1, Issue 6 (June 2004)
Development of Non-Destructive Test Methods for Assessing Effects of Thermal Exposures on Fire Fighters' Turnout Gear
The clothing that serves to protect a fire fighter in the line of duty experiences a wide range of exposures. Specifications for turnout gear focus primarily on pre-use performance. There is no standard for the performance of in-use fire fighter protective clothing. This paper outlines a research program designed to develop non-destructive test methods to provide users with an indication of how their in-use gear would conform to standards for new gear. Three non-destructive test methods (Raman luminescence, digital image analysis and colorimetry) are developed and correlated with established destructive tests to indicate useful service life. The paper concludes that among the methods examined in this study, digital image analysis offers the most promise for providing an economical and effective technique to assess the condition of in-use garments.