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Evaluating the Effects of Moisture on the Thermal Protective Performance of Firefighter Protective Clothing in Low Level Heat Exposures. Annual Report.


pdf icon Evaluating the Effects of Moisture on the Thermal Protective Performance of Firefighter Protective Clothing in Low Level Heat Exposures. Annual Report. (1914 K)
North Carolina State University

Annual Report; 94 p. December 2001.

Sponsor:

National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD

Keywords:

protective clothing; fire fighters; moisture; heat exposure; turnout coats; burns (injuries)

Abstract:

The accomplishments made to date can be summarized as follows: Sophisticated laboratory moisture delivery systems have been used to study ways in which moisture is absorbed and distributed in firefighter turnout composites. These studies have provided the foundation for the following outcome -- A practical laboratory preconditioning protocol has been developed for use in testing moisture effects on the thermal protective performance of firefighter composites in low level heat exposures. This preconditioning protocol has been shown to reproducibly introduce moisture at levels and distributions that reasonably simulate moisture absorption in firefighter turnout systems exposed to perspiration from a sweating firefighter. Progress has been made toward the development and evaluation of thermal sensors suitable for use in evaluating thermal protection in low level heat exposures: Laboratory experiments have been conducted to evaluate and compare the response of several different thermal sensors, including NCSU's Pyrocal and water cooled sensors to low level heat exposure. The RPP test platform is being used to evaluate response to exposures ranging from 2.5 to 10 kw/m2. Comparative evaluation of the merits of skin model sensor technologies for low level heat tests is ongoing. An experimental series has been conducted to show moisture effects on thermal protective performance in various low level heat exposures. The second year of this project will be devoted to validation of moisture preconditioning protocols and thermal sensors, and to a full analysis of moisture effects on bum potential. A major obstacle In the development test methodology for this application is the availability of moisture preconditioning protocols for turnout materials. There is also a lack of basic understanding of how moisture is absorbed in turnout systems when exposed, either to perspiration from a sweating firefighter, or to water from a fire ground source.