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Some principles of protection afforded by clothing in fire situations are reviewed briefly. Several examples of measurements of heat protective properties are given. The materials covered are single layers of fabrics appropriate for work uniforms, the same type of fabric combined with four popular underwear fabrics, and typical fire fighters' turnout coat assemblies, consisting of a shell fabric, vapor barrier, and thermal barrier. Such protective garment assemblies should not burn; they should retain their integrity, that is, not shrink, melt, or form brittle chars that break during the stresses induced by movement of the wearer; and they should provide as much insulation against heat on the fire scene as possible without interfering with the wearer's activities.
burn injuries, clothing, fire fighters, garments, protective clothing, thermal insulation
Textile technologist, Center for Fire Research, National Bureau of Standards, Gaithersburg, MD