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In the last few decades, many challenges have had to be met in protecting the human in industry against a large variety of hazards. In a number of areas in the world, maintenance work is required to be carried out on and in the vicinity of very high-voltage electrical equipment and in particular on overhead transmission lines while they are still energized.
To protect workers under these and similar situations, suits made from conducting materials are required. The early suits were considered very inefficient due to their inferior design and construction and poor electrical properties.
The practical functions of a Conductive Clothing Assembly extend far wider than the provision of adequate conductivity, flame retardancy, wear resistance, electrical resistance, current carrying capability, screening efficiency, ease of cleaning and maintenance, together with wearer acceptance and comfort, all have to be met.
This paper describes the initial investigations and development of conductive composite textile materials for a protective clothing assembly to combat the pick up from the electrostatic field in the immediate vicinity of 400-kV substation equipment and overhead line transmission towers giving a work environment where inductance buildup of electrical energy could occur to workers and subsequent earthing could result in a discharge above the threshold of feeling.
A review of the requirements of the new International Electrotechnical Commission Standard 78-15 Specification for Conductive Clothing for Live Working is also included in the paper together with a survey of the current work being undertaken in furthering the development of conductive composite materials.
protective clothing, conducting materials, Faraday suit, screening suits, electrostatic protection
Industrial consultant and vice-president, Institute of Quality Assurance, London,