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A Fabric Burn Hazard Protection Evaluation System

Cataldi, P., Nebolsine, P., Magill, J., Laughlin, W. and Hinds, M., 2005. A Fabric Burn Hazard Protection Evaluation System. Fire Safety Science 8: 837-848. doi:10.3801/IAFSS.FSS.8-837


An innovative testing apparatus for military and civilian research and development and also quality assurance purposes has been developed for the U.S. Army Natick Soldiers Center to evaluate the burn hazard protection of clothing fabric samples. The system includes a closed-loop controlled IR radiant heat source simulating the radiant heat from remote fires that generates heat loads up to 100 kW/m2 at the fabric sample, an automated shutter, a fabric sample holder, heat flux gage and skin simulant sensor, and a PC based data acquisition system with burn injury algorithms. Draping of clothing over the body is simulated by selecting various gaps between the fabric and sensor face from 0 to 65 mm. Various selectable apparatus orientations of 0, 30, 45, 60, and 90 degrees address orientation specific convective effects. Results are presented documenting the overall performance of this innovative system. The radiant protective performance of a fabric is determined via the temporal temperature rise of a skin simulant sensor and heat flux sensor’s output history. The automated data analysis algorithms output burn injury calculations, such as time to first degree burn and second degree burn, which are used in assessing the protective performance of fabrics.


flame testing, burn hazard evaluation, burn injury, closed-loop control

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