Open fire on Thermo-Man
Interview with Alfons Held, Global Marketing Leader, Emergency Response, DuPont11 Feb 2020
DuPont will be bringing its Thermo-Man® system along to INTERSCHUTZ. Can you tell us a little about that?
DuPont™ Thermo-Man® is a life-sized, instrumented mannequin system and is one of the most advanced thermal burn injury evaluation devices in the world. It is equipped with 12 gas burners and 122 heat sensors, and is the first test instrument of its kind developed in conjunction with the U.S. government to help protect fighter jet pilots from burn injuries.
What R&D applications is Thermo-Man® used for?
DuPont™ Thermo-Man® is ISO-certified in Europe, and we use it to test the thermal protection provided by firefighting protective clothing when exposed to full gas flame engulfment for either eight seconds or twelve seconds, depending on whether the testing is done for the European or US market.
This allows us to make predictions about the degree of burning likely to be suffered by wearers and the body areas affected. It also enables us to measure heat transfer to the body and draw conclusions about the design of the clothing. At INTERSCHUTZ, we will be using DuPont™ Thermo-Man® to test the latest firefighting clothing from big-name manufacturers.
What other topic areas will DuPont be addressing at INTERSCHUTZ?
We will be using DuPont™ Thermo-Man® to showcase the protective function of our latest innovations. Together with our Nomex® partners, we will present innovations in contamination prevention and new materials for first-responder protective apparel, improved flame-resistance, reduced wearer heat stress and improved washability.
What innovations for protecting against harmful smoke particles will you be showcasing?
Our Nomex® Nano and Nomex® Nano Flex materials have been used in the fire industry for many years, where they improve particle barrier efficiency in various items of turnout gear, including firefighter hoods. At INTERSCHUTZ, we will be presenting a new generation of these materials that offers even better protection and longevity in actual use. Smoke particle exposure is a big issue worldwide, so we will be presenting real-world examples from various parts of the world.
Another key topic relates to washable outer-shell fabrics. Can you tell us a little about them, their properties and where they are used?
Decontamination of turnout gear is integral to particle protection. However, washing processes can expose fire protection clothing to high abrasion forces, especially if the wash program is not optimized for this type of clothing. This can accelerate wear and tear and lead to discoloration and unattractive wear patterns. That is why we go to great lengths to test our Nomex® partners’ outer fabrics for abrasion-resistance and colorfastness.
In many cases, fire protective clothing needs to offer a combination of chemical and thermal protection. This is especially the case with industrial factory fire brigades. Does DuPont have any solutions for these types of applications?
Yes: Tychem® 6000 FR ThermoPro. That’s a single-layer garment that provides chemical, flame and arc protection, all in one.
Has it been tested using DuPont™ Thermo-Man®?
Yes, Tychem® 6000 FR ThermoPro has been tested multiple times using the Thermo-Man® system and has performed very well. In flash flame exposure tests of four seconds duration, Thermo-Man® has never sustained anything more than second-degree burns to 8 percent of his body.
That’s wearing just the Tychem® 6000 FR ThermoPro outer suit – no inner clothing.
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