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New Methods for Evaluating Thermal Performance of Protective Clothing for
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A growing number of fire fighters are suffering third degree burns; this has led to questions about the adequacy of thermal protective performance (TPP) measurements for protective clothing. A new heat flux sensor, whose response approximates that of skin, will be developed to provide better measurements of heat transfer in TPP tests. This sensor will be used with nonlinear parameter estimation and thermal analysis techniques to determine the thermal conductivity and thermal inertia parameters of protective clothing materials as a function of moisture level. These enhanced techniques will provide more accurate assessments of how moisture affects thermal protective performance and the potential to produce severe burns. They will be designed to complement measurements obtained with the TPP Test Fixture described in NFPA-1971, Standard on Protective Ensemble for Structural Fire Fighting. In Phase 2, these enhanced techniques will be extended to evaluate (1) the combined effects of moisture and compression on TPP, (b) localized degradation of TPP due to two-dimensional effects, such as retro-reflective striping, and (3) differences between TPP measurements using the existing techniques and the new ones. Some of the hardware and analysis techniques will be designed for retrofitting onto existing TPP test fixtures.
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