Evaluating Textiles with Performance Properties

Dr. Roger Barker, Director, Textile Protection and Comfort Center (TPACC)

The commercial success of technical fibers, fabrics and finishes depends on their performance in a variety of applications ranging from flame resistant garments to outdoor and sports products. We can evaluate technical textiles as individual components, but there is great value in testing them as whole systems. This presentation describes how a new generation instrumented manikins called Pyroman™, Radman™ and Comfortman™ and other advanced tests can be used, either separately or together, to demonstrate the performance of technical textiles for first responder and work wear in ways that were never before possible. It will describe case studies drawn from recent TPACC research projects that have developed advanced clothing prototypes for homeland security, firefighting and workplace applications. These studies have shown the value of using a fully integrated product development approach supported by advanced product testing. Some have developed prototypes for protecting firefighters from extreme thermal or toxic environments, including wildland fire and exposure to contaminates and smoke. Others have developed clothing systems for comfort by combining advances in materials technology with garment design. All confirm the value of developing textile products using scientifically based measures of their performance properties.