ArcWear is at the center of the development of a new ASTM Standard Test Method that could better predict the potential for burn injuries for various materials used in garments and ensembles. The proposed standard (WK70964), which is under the jurisdiction of ASTM Subcommittee F23.80, outlines a new way to evaluate flame-resistant clothing that bridges the gap between the current bench-scale test, which ArcWear performs in-house, and the full-scale flash fire manikin test system that is performed in a handful of labs around the world.
ArcWear Senior Consultant Brian Shiels, Chair of the Subcommittee and Technical Contact for the development effort, has been working with Thermetrics in Seattle to develop the sole version of the test apparatus. It uses 15 sensors embedded in a cylindrical form that is exposed to heat and flame; in contrast, the existing bench-scale test uses a single sensor to measure protective properties of a small, flat swatch of fabric, and the full-scale test employs more than 120 sensors to measure protective properties of an entire coverall garment on a full-size instrumented manikin. “While the human form is quite complex, it is essentially a series of cylinders,” says Shiels. “So, a simple bench-scale test that exposes a cylinder to flash fire will provide more accuracy in testing.”
ArcWear is on board to purchase the device as soon as the design is finalized. “We expect that it will eventually become a required test for certain types of protective clothing, and we will immediately be able to offer that testing service to our clients,” says Shiels.