BTTG featured in the lastest issue of the FIRE Magazine
BTTG® featured in the latest issue of the FIRE magazine in an article focussed on the testing process involved in creating a garment suitable for a Firefighter to wear. Firefighter PPE is subject to stringent testing at every stage of its development to ensure that it offers excellent protection and meets all relevant international standards.
PPE testing is becoming very technologically sophisticated, and is able to assist in the development of new fabric combinations and designs as well as offer vital reassurance to fire and rescue services that they are wearing PPE that will perform in life threatening conditions.
As a UK independent laboratory with over 100 years expertise and invaluable knowledge, we have been involved in developing heat and flame protection technology since 1989. We test to all UK and international standards; such as the European CEN standard for firefighting PPE and EN469.
For our client of over thirty years, Bristol Uniforms, BTTG® undertake a series of assessments on both composite and single layer textiles for each new product. This is to ensure that the final physical garment offers the desired levels of protection as well as functionality, and meets the requirements of international standards. The testing performed investigates flame spread, heat resistance, tensile tear and seam strength, surface wetting, penetration by liquid chemicals, water penetration, dimensional change after washing, water vapour resistance, thermal resistance, abrasion resistance, and cut, tear and puncture resistance. Before the majority of these tests, BTTG® will wash and dry the materials five times in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. This is to check that the protective qualities of the fabric remain intact and are not diminished after cleaning. At this stage, in addition to the principal fabric combination, all other possible components of the PPE are tested, including studs, webbings, graphics, badges and reflective tapes. Each component is tested to see how they react to intense heat and flame in order to measure how this might affect the performance of the PPE ensemble.
BTTG® has undertaken manikin tests for 30 years, first with the male shaped model RALPH (Research Aim Longer Protection Against Heat), who was updated in 2006 and joined his female shaped counterpart SOPHIE (System Objective Protection against Heat In an Emergency). Both comply with ISO:13506 and test clothing under full flame envelopment conditions. RALPH and SOPHIE have over 120 sensors distributed across the head, torso, legs, arms and hands which record the temperature on the surface of the manikin during a test. The flame engulfment device consists of 12 burners aimed at the manikin which is positioned at the centre. For each test, a burn injury prediction is created; the simulation indicates the levels of pain that would be experienced as well as recording the sites of first, second and third degree burn detections.
BTTG® is proud to have been involved in the development of pioneering textile testing technologies which have shaped the way PPE is developed for our emergency services. Click here to read the article in full.