Breakthrough in Flame Resistant Fabrics Market: Researchers Develop New Sensor with the Capability to Evaluate Breakdown in Garments
Posted On August 13, 2021
Firefighters all around the globe are consistently risking their lives to rid us of the blazing fires; however, their ageing protective gear can lead to unwarranted risks if not changed for a new one. Damage to the garments is at times not visible to the naked eye until the performance is drastically affected. Thus, firefighters also do not have any reliable way of knowing when they need to change their suits so that they aren’t harmed while working.
A research team is now working with the industry to find a way to reduce such risks. They have developed a sensor with the ability to identify the gradual breakdown in the garments due to heat, moisture, or exposure to UV (Ultraviolet) light. Since the fabrics age silently and slowly loses their performance, the new sensors are no less than a breakthrough for Flame Resistant Fabrics Market as they can provide better safety to workers who are consistently exposed to heat and fire.
The team stated that once the sensors patch is fully developed, it would be capable of providing evaluation criteria for garments without requiring destructive testing methods such as cutting out samples from the fabric to test its condition by conventional methods like strength testing.
The sensor patch consists of graphene, which is used to form conductive tracks upon the patch’s surface. Whenever its exposure to heat, UV light, or moisture exceeds a particular level, it will disrupt the graphene track making it lose its graphene conductivity. With the present technology, firefighters would only need a simple voltmeter to check the safety level of their garments on the sensor patch and they would be provided with the conclusion within mere seconds.
The sensor has already been provisionally patented and is under development for now. The technology, however, has arrived at a crucial time, just as the FPA (National Fire Protection Association) is preparing to upgrade standards on garment maintenance. The changes are needed due to the underlying threat of diseases that are being linked to fire-associated harmful substances that leach onto the fabric, putting firefighters at a greater risk than before.
The current recommendation of the association just states that the garments need to be washed twice a year, but the data that determines the standard about when the clothing needs to be changed is based mostly on once or twice year washing.
The team revealed that new sensors are also applicable for oil and gas, mining, electrical, and construction industries. The sensors are essential to current problems and immensely relatable as there is always some ambiguity around when to change one’s protective equipment; the present technology would remove that question, in turn decreasing the risk to the life of firefighters.