This study is the first in a series of reports on understanding the performance of fire fighter clothing, in protecting skin from thermal injury that results from exposure to high intensity thermal radiation. A detailed mathematical model is constructed to study transient heat and moisture transfer through multi-layered fabric assemblies with or without air gaps. The model accounts for changes in thermodynamic and transport properties of the fabric due to the presence of moisture. Numerical simulations are performed to study heat and mass transport through wet thermal liners (used in fire fighter protective clothing) when subjected to a radiative heat flux from a gas fired radiant panel. Results were found to compare well with experimental measurements. The numerical solutions are further analyzed to provide a detailed physical understanding of the governing processes. Moisture in the cloth tends to vaporise upon heating and part of it recondenses in the interior of the cloth. It was observed that the temperature of the fabric layers and total heat flux to the skin is significantly influenced by the amount of moisture and the distribution of moisture in the protective clothing. Finally, simulations are performed for a wet turnout coat assembly to demonstrate the flexibility of the model for designing fire fighter protective clothing.
Originally Published in: National Institute of Standards and Technology
About the Authors:
Kuldeep Prasad, William Twilley & J. Randall Lawson are associated with Fire Research Division, Building and Fire Research Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD
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