Sulfur content in some high-performance fabrics weakens them when exposed to moisture

Gerard Ortiz
PhD pupil Saiful Hoque led new investigation that could place the way to developing much better, safer protective put on for firefighters and other workers. Credit: University of Alberta

Scientists have solved the mystery of why a substantial-effectiveness cloth generally employed in firefighting and other protecting clothes weakens prematurely when it is really exposed to humidity.

The breakthrough aids remedy a big protection challenge, states Saiful Hoque, a researcher in the School of Agricultural, Daily life & Environmental Sciences.

“As the garment weakens more than time, there’s no way to know no matter whether the wearer is still safeguarded or not,” claims Hoque, a Ph.D. university student in Textile and Attire Science.

“Now we know the root lead to, and this offers details to the makers to obtain a alternative to this dilemma.”

The latest research investigated the accelerated hydrothermal growing older of a variety of materials generally made use of as outer shells in clothing for firefighters, oil and gas staff and electricians.

The materials had been immersed in h2o at temperatures ranging from 60 to 95 C for up to 1,200 hrs. Just after exposure, some of them lost major tensile strength—the worry a fabric can endure without the need of splitting or breaking—without displaying any seen indicators of degradation.

The induce was observed to be the high sulfur content material in some of the fibers, top to an accelerated reduction in fabric toughness when uncovered to humidity. That degradation weakens the protection of protective garments when exposed to sweat, water, rain, snow or laundering.

Apart from fiber damage, the drinking water-repellent complete in some of the materials also showed degradation, which adds to basic safety problems, Hoque notes.

“When a cloth starts off absorbing water it transfers much more warmth, which can result in burns. And h2o also makes what is by now a heavy safety garment even heavier.”

The results drop new gentle on what earlier U of A analysis learned about the sensitivity of some superior-overall performance fabrics to drinking water, claims ALES professor Patricia Dolez. She led previously investigate that showed laundering contributes to a reduction in functionality in some hearth-protecting fabrics.

Future steps are to share the most current findings with textile brands, says Dolez, who was a co-creator on Hoque’s study along with Professor Hyun-Joong Chung and Ankit Saha of the U of A’s Faculty of Engineering.

“We’re hoping to operate with the sector to appear up with answers.”

The discovery will also fortify ongoing investigation led by Dolez to build end-of-life sensors that detect destruction in firefighters’ clothes.

“We now have the information we desired on the degradation of fire-protecting fabrics (due to lengthy-phrase exposure to water) to pick the ideal materials to use.”

The analyze was released in the Journal of Used Polymer Science.


Sensor can detect when firefighters’ protecting clothes is no for a longer time safe


Far more details:
Md. Saiful Hoque et al, Hydrothermal growing old of fire‐protective fabrics, Journal of Used Polymer Science (2022). DOI: 10.1002/application.52666

Offered by
University of Alberta


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Sulfur material in some large-efficiency fabrics weakens them when exposed to moisture (2022, August 29)
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