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Analysis of the Thermal Response of Protective Fabrics

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Technical rept. Jun 1971-Jun 1972

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The objective of this program was to develop a theoretical and empirical mathematical relationship to define the fabric-skin systems response when exposed to a JP-4 fuel fire. Critical fabric parameters, such as optical, thermo-chemical and physical characteristics are defined in a manner which will allow the fabric designer to develop improved thermally protective light weight fabrics. The computer code evaluates the model parameter variation in terms of resultant human skin burns. A comparison of the analytical model results with laboratory and fire pit data demonstrates excellent correlation within the limits of the present study. Nomex, PBI and stabilized PBI fabrics were modeled analytically by experimental determination of their thermal response characteristics. Stabilized PBI fabrics provided the best protection of the three fabrics because the fabric did not shrink, break apart or ignite. Nomex fabrics provided the least protection because the hot fabric shrank to contact with the skin, broke apart allowing direct exposure of the skin, and continued to burn upon egress from the fire. Unstabilized PBI fabrics did shrink to contact with the underlying skin and allowed a burn to occur. The extent of the burn under the Nomex fabric was more severe than for the unstabilized PBI fabric. Three second fire pit exposures of mannikins clothed in flight suits made from each fiber type showed the average resultant body area burned in thirty tests to be 49.8 for Nomex, 28.4 for unstabilized PBI, and 11.4 FOR STABILIZED PBI.

Subject Categories:

  • Textiles
  • Protective Equipment

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