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Next Generation Fire Resistant Fabric Technology

Purpose

To conduct research necessary to bring an innovative technology to the U.S. military. These efforts are aimed at developing a fire resistant material that can be produced in sufficient quantity and is affordable to allow every soldier who requires a fire retardant combat uniform to have one. A recent U.S. Army study noted that the best evidence of the efficacy of fireproof garments in armored vehicle combat is Israeli data from the 1982 war in Lebanon. In that conflict the use of flame-retardant gloves alone reduced the incidence of hand burns from 75 percent to 7 percent among tank crewmen who sustained burns. Incidence of hand burns with glove use decreased from 25 percent to 2.5 percent among all injured crewmen. The overall goal of the initiative is to enable applications of TecGen fibers to textile products targeted by the U.S. Army. This research is aimed at:

Relevance

The U.S. military puts high priority on textiles that provide the dual functions of good burn protection and easily wearable garments. In the past the greatest barrier faced by the military was finding an affordable textile product that combines comfort and performance with enabling wide deployment of the material. Nomex and PBI, which are aramid based fibers, are universally accepted as the fibers of choice when maximum protection is sought and cost is no object. This project is structured around a newly engineered and patented fiber called TecGen, which can be produced for about half the cost of Nomex and about a tenth of the cost of PBI. TecGen is a biregional fiber, having a high-density carbonaceous shell, which provides protection from radiant heat, and an acrylic core that provides good textile properties.

Potential Impacts

Lead Agency: Texas Tech University

Partner: U.S. Department of Defense