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The protective performance against molten metal has commonly been measured for the outer layers of garments. Heavy-weight wool melton offers the best overall protection against molten metal owing to its metal-shedding property coupled with high thermal insulation. Reflective aluminized materials, which also protect against radiant heat, have been found to give good protection against molten metal. In normal use, however, these materials have limited use because of their stiffness, tight weave, and impermeable construction. Many flame-retardant cotton fabrics also offer protection against molten iron to some degree. In this study the protective performance of fabric combinations of garment materials, for 8 hours use, was evaluated. The performance against flame spread and molten iron was measured for various flame-retardant outerlayer fabrics and fabric combinations with non-flame retardant and flame retardant underwear fabrics. With all inner layers the molten iron classification increased, regardless of whether the material was flame-retardant or not, synthetic or not. If the outer layer was thick enough, the combination passed also the flame spread test, but with thinner outer layers, hole was formed in the inner layer. The results from the laboratory tests showed that protection can be increased conciderably, from class 1 (60–120 g iron) to class 3 (over 201 g iron), if flame-retardant underwear is used under flame-retardant cotton outer fabric. The material combination is still comfortable enough for eight-hours use.
protective clothing, molten iron, fabric combinations
Senior Researcher, Institute of Occupational Health, Vantaa,
Assistant Researcher, Institute of Occupational Health, Vantaa,
Research engineer, Institute of Occupational Health, Vantaa,