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2.3 FireWear Premier Garments As a perfect compromise of the flame resistance characteristics of Nomex III A and the wearing comfort of cotton, Modacrylic fibres have been introduced to the market. These are generally cheaper than Nomex and offer sufficient flame resistance where this is not required at all times or as primary protection (i.e. as stationwear for fire fighters or as industrial flame resistant garment for workers who do not permanently stay in hazard zones). Modacrylic fibres such as Kermel or FFR are often blended with cotton or viscose to provide the wearer with all day wearing comfort. Mercanta offers FireWear and Flashguard. FireWear in its second generation is called FireWear Premier. It consists of 48 % Tencel, 40 % Modacrylic and 12 % Para-Aramid. Whereas Para-Aramid provides sufficient protection against heat and the Modacrylic is inherent flame-resistant, Tencel is a revolutionary cellulose fibre (made of wood), which is softer than silk, cooler than linen and absorbs moisture better than cotton. This fabric blend is self-extinguishing, will not melt, drip or burn when the ignition source is removed. In addition, it provides an outstanding wearing comfort. Especially in hot zones, garments made of FireWear Premier offer increased wearing comfort due to the breathability and the high moisture regain of the fabric. FireWear Premier complies with NFPA 2112 (latest edition) and NFPA 70E. It is also certified to EN 11611 for fire fighting stationwear and to EN 11612 for heat resistant industrial fabrics. It is available both in a 7,5 oz/yd2 (212 g/m²) or 8,5 oz/yd2 (240 g/m²) version. Due to the absolute non-inflammability of the Modacrylic fibre, this material belongs to the family of the inherently flame resistant woven fabrics. Its molecular structure is designed to emit a non-combustible gas through microscopic pores in the fibre when exposed to flames. This gas smothers the flame on the surface of the fabric. This process and the chemical reaction encountered with it is demonstrated in the following pictures which show enlarged microscope views of the Modacrylic fibre before and after exposure to flames: Before exposure to flames After exposure to flames Modacrylic fibres look and Note: Non-combustible gas feel like regular textile fibres is emitted to extinguish flames 2.4 Nomex Garments Nomex is an Aramid fibre that will burn while exposed to flames but self-extinguishes when the flame is removed. To increase the resistance to heat Kevlar fibres can be added to the Nomex tissue which results in a perfect combination of heat/flame resistance. This material is called Nomex III. Being inherently flame resistant the material will not loose its flame-resistance characteristics for its lifetime. However, chlorine bleach, softeners or other additives must not be used when garments are laundered, machine washed or dry-cleaned. The disadvantage of the fabric is that it is expensive and it does not provide good wearing comfort in hot climates since it does neither soak body perspiration nor transfer body heat. An improvement of this fibre is an anti-static treatment which provides permanent anti-static properties to it. This fibre is called Nomex III A and is a blend of Nomex III with P-140 static dissipative fibres. It fully complies with the performance requirements of NFPA 2112 and NFPA 70E (latest edition) and EN 469 for fire fighters as well as EN 11611 and EN 11612 for industrial applications. Our principals, Topps Safety Apparel Inc. work closely with fibre producers and textile mills in the development and evaluation of new flame resistant fabrics. They also have Tecasafe Plus in their scope of supply which provides superior electric arc and flash fire protection in a comfortable and lightweight fabric. The wide range of FR fabrics can be confusing to the end user confronted with so many different fabrics to choose from. Therefore, we offer professional assistance to those who are in permanent need of up-to-date knowledge in this field. The comparison between two fabrics can only be made when fabrics with the same weight are used for tests (i.e. 4,5 oz/yd2 [153 g/m²] Indura and 4,5 oz/yd2 [153 g/m²] Nomex). The thicker the fabric, the higher the resistance to flames. With the exception of wool, generally the thicker the fabric is, the higher the protection against radiant heat will be. Again, tests are only valid when fabrics of the same weight are used. The materials are not designed to withstand high heat for a long time. For applications as such, an aluminised material must be chosen. 172

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