Development of a Dynamic Compression Test Apparatus for Measuring Thermal Performance of Fire Fighter's Protective Clothing.
Development of a Dynamic Compression Test Apparatus for
Measuring Thermal Performance of Fire Fighter's
Lawson, J. R.; Twilley, W. H.; Malley, K. S.
NISTIR 6502; 70 p. April 2000.
Sponsor:Federal Emergency Management Agency, Washington, DC
Available from: National Technical Information Service
(NTIS), Technology Administration, U.S. Department of
Commerce, Springfield, VA 22161.
1-800-553-6847 or 703-605-6000;
Order number: PB2000-105743
protective clothing; fire fighters; burns (injuries);
test methods; heat transfer; test equipment
A dynamic compression test apparatus has been developed
that bases its design on fire ground conditions that
produce burn injuries to the knees of fire fighters.
This apparatus may be used to measure the thermal
performance of fire fighters' protective clothing in
either wet or dry thermal environments. Studies
conducted by the New York City Fire Department (FDNY)
show that the contact surface area of the human knee is
approximately 3710 mm2 (5.75 in. 2) for a male fire
fighter with a body mass of about 79 kg (174 lbs). In
addition, the FDNY shows that a fully equipped 79 kg
(174 lb) fire fighter operating a charged 44.5 mm (1 3/4
in.) hoseline had a mean average knee compression, force
per unit area, of 133 kPa (19.3 lbf/in. 2). The test
apparatus and operating procedures discussed in this
report take these data into consideration. The test
apparatus uses a timer controlled pneumatic piston to
compress the thermal sensor against the test specimen.
Test results show that the compression apparatus can
discriminate between various levels of thermal
performance for fire fighters' protective clothing knee
pad systems. In addition, results from the apparatus
show that knee pad systems can have significantly
different thermal performance when exposed to wet and
dry thermal conditions.