This report on fabric and garment flammability represents a synthesis and overview of research conducted by four independent labs, sponsored jointly by the Government Industry Research Committee on Flammable Fabrics and by the Office of Flammable Fabrics of the National Bureau of Standards. It is intended as a reference document for fiber and textile technologists concerned with this problem. The laboratories taking part in this cooperative program were the Factory Mutual Research Corporation; teh School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology; the Harris Research Laboratories Department, Gillette Research Institute; and the Fuels Research Laboratory, Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT. The overview group, which compiled and integrated the results and produced this book, was affiliated with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT.
Three specific aspects of the flammability problem are treated here: fabric ignition, the spreading of flames, and burn injury to the human skin. In addition, an entire chapter is devoted to the characterization of fabric properties related to flammability.
The ignition phenomenon involves the complex processes of heat transfer, thermal degradation, fluid mechanics and chemical kinetics. Thermoplastic behavior compounds this complexity when synthetic fabrics are involved. The treatment of ignition outlined in this work, is essentially physical, omitting considerations of chemical kinetics and focusing on the prediction of ignition time of fabrics under known conditions of thermal exposure.
Flame propagation is discussed as a continuing ignition process. Only those aspects of the flame propagation phenomenon, both in fabric strips and in garments, that are accessible through an experimental approach are dealt with.
Research on thermal burns of the human body also involves considerations of heat transfer to and thermal decomposition of the skin. In this phase of the study, attempts are made to predict depth and burn damage on the basis of thermal history at the skin surface. Extensive experimental results are reported, which provide insight into the mode and extent of heat transfer from burning fabrics and garments to skin simulants.