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    Human Protection from Burns by Heated Surfaces—The Problem and Solution

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    Insulation in some form has been used in the home for centuries to protect the occupants against extremes of heat and cold. With the Industrial Revolution, insulation was applied to industrial processes to conserve energy and, more important, to protect the process products during manufacture. As technology expanded, bringing more complex processes, higher temperatures, and more worker exposure situations, an increased awareness of the need for worker safety led to the use of insulation for personnel protection. Unfortunately, it was not until after World War II that adequate medical data were available to aid in the definition of a “safe” heated surface. To this day, the definition of “safe conditions” for heated surfaces varies widely among consultants, appliance manufacturers, insulation producers, and regulatory agencies. In 1983, ASTM Committee C-16 on Thermal Insulation began work toward developing standards to resolve these issues. This paper outlines the approach taken by the working task groups to establish (1) a standard definition of the human burn mechanism for heated surfaces and (2) the tools required to determine if a surface presents a hazard.


    human burn protection, heated surfaces, standards, burns, personnel protection, hyperthermia, thermal insulation

    Author Information:

    Mumaw, JR
    Senior engineer, Research and Development Division, Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp., Technical Center, Granville, OH

    Committee/Subcommittee: C16.24

    DOI: 10.1520/STP18514S