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September/October 2009
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Temperature Ratings

Stan, a thermal manikin at Kansas State University, is used to measure the insulation provided by cold weather clothing.

In the field of personal protective clothing, a temperature rating indicates the lowest acceptable air temperature at which an average person would be comfortable when wearing a certain set of clothing. While manufacturers believe that providing temperature ratings is helpful to consumers when they are comparing garments, there have been different methods of testing for a temperature rating. The need to find common ground in this area has led to a new ASTM International standard, F2732, Practice for Determining the Temperature Ratings for Cold Weather Protective Clothing.

The new standard is under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee F23.60 on Human Factors, part of ASTM International Committee F23 on Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment.

According to Elizabeth McCullough, co-director, Institute for Environmental Research, Kansas State University, and a past chair of Subcommittee F23.60, F2732 provides an explanation of all the variables that affect a person’s thermal comfort and describes a procedure for measuring the insulation value of a jacket, jacket/pants set or coverall over a standard lightweight base ensemble.

McCullough notes that the new standard makes the temperature rating prediction at a low activity level for safety reasons. “If people are active and producing a lot of body heat, they can simply adjust their cold weather garments to provide cooling,” she says.

Manufacturers of cold weather clothing for consumers and insulated apparel for the workplace will be the primary users of the new standard. “If most manufacturers follow F2732, consumers will be better able to compare the temperature ratings of cold weather garments described in catalogs and on Web sites and make informed purchases,” says McCullough.

CONTACT

Technical Information: Elizabeth McCullough, Institute for Environmental Research, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan.

Phone: 785-532-2284

ASTM Staff: Stephen Mawn

Phone: 610-832-9726