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NCSU MIST Lab Tests Protective Garments

The North Carolina State University (NCSU) College of Textiles, Raleigh, N.C., has opened a state-of-the-art Man-In-Simulant Test (MIST) facility at the College's Textile Protection and Comfort Center (T-PACC). The facility was funded by a $2 million US Department of Defense grant secured by Rep. Bob Etheridge, D-N.C.

The new facility enables testing of complete protective ensemble suits in nontoxic chemical vapors that are similar to toxic chemical and biological agents, and will provide test results and analysis more quickly than other such facilities, according to NCSU. Testing will be conducted on mannequins and on human subjects performing first-responder-type tasks in a controlled environment. Analysis of adhesive pads worn underneath the garments being tested will reveal vapor penetration levels through the fabric and at the garments'seams and closures.

The MIST facility willbe supervised by T-PACC Director Dr. Roger Barker and joins the center's facilities for mannequin-testing of thermal protective and comfort properties of apparel. The facility provides a readily accessible lab to test prototype firefighter turnout gear developed by Barker, who had received a grant in 2003 from the Department of Homeland Security to develop such a suit with improved protection from heat and toxins as well as enhanced comfort and durability.

"The new MIST lab will be integrated into our existing garment testing facilities and increases our ability to provide accurate studies of protective gear in a more timely manner," Barker said. "This facility complements all of the research we engage in and will accelerate the development process for new types of protective gear."

September/October 2008