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Engineering an Undergarment for Flash/Flame Protection

[+] Author Affiliations
Frazier Hull, Jett Gambill, Andrew Hansche, Gian Agni, John Evangelista, Özer Arnas

United States Military Academy, West Point, NY

Celia Powell

Battelle Contractor, Natick SRDEC, Natick, MA

Margaret Auerbach

United States Army NSRDEC, Natick, MA

Joel Dillon

PEO Soldier, Fort Belvoir, VA

Paper No. IMECE2011-63888, pp. 297-305; 9 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 2: Biomedical and Biotechnology Engineering; Nanoengineering for Medicine and Biology
  • Denver, Colorado, USA, November 11–17, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5488-4
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


This paper presents a continuation of projects spanning the last two years. In year one, the physical characteristics and medical effects of burns and Improvised Explosive Device, IED, blasts were investigated [1]. In year two, the possible use of commercial intumescent materials with fabric was studied [2]. The identified needs for research into the effect of undergarments on burn protection are focused in this study. Additionally, Thermal Protective Performance, TPP-(ISO 17492) and Air Permeability, AP-(ASTM D737) tests were performed to gather the data needed for the analysis of flame and thermal resistance as well as comfort and breathability. Out of the seven samples evaluated, the Sample D, composed of 94% m-aramid, 5% p-aramid and 1% static dissipative fiber, shirt had the best overall performance in terms of air permeability, average TPP rating, and time to second degree burn. Another finding was that polyester undershirts may be dangerous in the event of a flash fire situation because the fabric could melt and stick to the Soldier’s skin causing more severe burn injury. Additionally, an initial framework for a basic mathematical model representing the system was created. This model can be further refined to yield more accurate results and eventually be used to help predict the material properties required in fabrics to design a more protective undergarment.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME
Topics: Flames



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