Protection together with comfort is very important subject for the performance of protective equipment. Firefighting is very dangerous work and today firefighters wear personal protective equipment to protect themselves during their highly dangerous work. Also they have to perform their jobs under very restrict time intervals so their motion and working performances are highly dependent on clothing comfort. The balance of thermal protection from fire and metabolic heat stress generated by the human body due to metabolic activities are very important during fire situations. The structure of the garments must allow evaporation of perspiration, ventilation and also thermal protection from fire.
In fire situations, fabrics are subjected to extremely heavy loads. Fabric performance in these situations is related to comfort, time, heat, durability, and other characteristics specific to the occurrence . Moreover the thermal performance of fire fighters' protective clothing is primarily based on the thermo-physical properties of the materials.
used to construct the clothing. The physical properties used for thermal analysis and predictions are: thermal conductivity, specific heat, density, and the thermal spectral properties of emissivity, transmissivity and reflectivity .Vettori reported thermal conductivity data for ten materials used in fabricating fire fighters' protective clothing that included outer shell fabrics, moisture barriers, and thermal liner battings. Materials were tested twice for the thermal conductivity data, when they were new and after they were conditioned. . Holcombe explained the heat related properties of protective clothing fabrics . Lawson and Pinder gave estimates for the thermal conductivity of 10 different materials used in the construction of fire fighters' protective clothing . A serious potential concern for firefighter protective clothing is the temperature transmission through the fabric which is normally tested by the thermal protective performance tests on dry fabrics. Hirschler studied the effect of dampness and compared the temperature transmission values of two fabrics (aramid and modified viscose) to decide the suitable one as the protective outer fabrics for firefighter turn-out coats . Sun et. al. investigated the radiant-heat thermal protection and comfort performance of wild land firefighters clothing measuring air permeability, vapor evaporation, and thermal resistance of single-layer fabrics. They also discussed the impact of color differences of outer layers, their thickness or weight, and their structural features on radiant protective performance values and thermal resistance . Barker et.al. searched the effects of absorbed moisture on the thermal protective performance of the fire fighter turnout materials exposed to a low-level heat source. They found a complex influence of absorbed moisture on the protective performance of fire fighter turnout systems . Holmér explained protective clothing in hot environments. He considered the protective clothing against heat and chemical agents and investigated their effects on the thermal balance and performance.
Chung and Lee, studied comfort properties of protective clothing for firefighters and they suggested that the system of clothing design and material layers must be chosen carefully to balance protection and comfort . Wang et al.concluded that the special clothing ensembles that firefighters wear should provide not only thermal protective performance but also thermal and moisture-related comfort.The comfort property of protective clothing has great influence on work efficiency . Mah and Song outlined that firefighting clothings’ heat and moisture transfer capacity was affected by many factors, such as material properties, style, fit, size and drape of garments.Raimundo and Figueiredo found that it was possible to enhance firefighter safety by the augmentation of clothing insulation and vapour permeability efficiency. Li et al.
evaluated the effects of material component and design feature on heat transfer in firefighter turnout clothing.Lawson and Vettori, suggested that firefighters protective clothing’ thermal performance must be evaluated while dry,when wet, in full loft and when fully compressed.According to Lawson et al., thermal performance of fire fighters’ protective clothing was primarily based on the thermo-physical properties of the materials that were used to construct the clothing and the insulating air space that was provided by the garment design. Wakatsuki et. al.investigated if the synthetic underwear plays a significant role in moisture and metabolic heat transfer within the fire fighter clothing . He et. al. showed the heat and moisture transport performance of the multilayer protective clothing under seven different ambient conditions . Fu et. al.have tested two kinds of protective clothing with different vapor permeability in order to study the design influence on protective properties.
In this study, it is aimed to analyze some thermal comfort properties of different types of outer shell fabrics, moisture barrier fabrics and thermal barrier fabrics that are mostly used in the firefighter’s clothing production. Two types of outer shell fabrics, moisture barrier fabrics and thermal barrier fabrics were combined to make a multilayered fabric assembly for firefighter suits. Thermal conductivity, thermal diffusivity, thermal absorptivity, water vapor resistance,water vapour permeability, air permeability analyses were conducted to test the comfort properties of the fabrics.Moreover, thermal comfort performances of two kinds of firefighter uniforms were evaluated using thermal camera and heat distribution of different areas under the same environmental and physical conditions was evaluated.