An Experimental Analysis of Firefighter Protective Clothing: The Influences of Moisture and a Thermally Activated Expanding Air-Gap
White, James Patrick
di Marzo, Marino
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Thermally protective clothing garments are necessary pieces of equipment that ensure the life safety of firefighters. In this analysis, material samples of such garments are tested experimentally with and without the presence of both moisture and a thermally activated, expanding air-gap. Moisture is delivered to samples via a porous baseplate with an integral fluid supply system, simulating perspiration. Operation of the expanding air-gap is controlled by a custom-designed assembly of shape-memory rings, which undergo a shape transformation over a predetermined temperature range. Samples with varying characteristic layers and arrangements are subjected to a controlled thermal exposure. The performances of tested samples are evaluated based on normalized temperature parameters. Assembly characteristics offering the greatest protective performance are then established. Results suggest that limiting moisture absorption in the thermal liner of a garment and implementing air-gaps of increasing thickness improve the protective performance of firefighter protective clothing.