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Nonwovens / Technical Textiles

NCSU Develops New Firefighter Gear

Researchers at North Carolina State University's (NCSU's) College of Textiles, Raleigh, N.C., unveiled a firefighter turnout gear prototype that offers increased protection against fire, and chemical and biological agents.

NCSU partnered with Globe Manufacturing Co., Pittsfield, N.H., and DuPont, Wilmington, Del., for the project, which was awarded by the Department of Homeland Security and the Technical Support Working Group.

For the prototype, NCSU developed a thermal liner that uses a new nonwoven thermal material. The material offers improved heat protection by incorporating new fiber technologies.

DuPont developed a breathable membrane that provides chemical and biological protection. Through the process of selective transport the diffusion of water across a selectively permeable membrane the membrane allows sweat to evaporate and body heat to escape to keep the firefighter cool while blocking harmful agents from entering the suit. In addition to the increased protection, the new suit weighs 5 percent less than the best suit currently available on the market, according to NCSU.

October 2004